Character Recurrence in Novels

Something I’ve noticed when reading old Charles Dickens novels is that many stories of his have some character who appears early but is gone after a few chapters. They’re named but they’re not really important, and they disappear and are forgotten soon after.

And then 80% of the way through the story they return, out of nowhere, and it’s mentioned they knew this one character from the beginning of the story. Does this happen in stories anymore? I’m particularly thinking of Dickens stories that take place over a character’s whole life, which is actually probably most of them, but this is something I tend to notice a lot in Dickens books but not so much in more modern tales.

It’s an interesting part of stories. I’m holding things like this in reserve for the Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos as a series, though that’s over multiple books where a character who appeared in one might appear unexpectedly in another, and that’s more notable for full-series readers than having a character return in a single book.

What started me thinking on characters returning within a single book was a chapter I was editing recently. My original draft had the main character meeting with some unnamed characters for a conversation just for a bit of world building, but there really wasn’t anything to it. As I’ve been working on a lot of story notes regarding characters related to where this meeting took place, I realized a couple characters who’d appeared earlier could easily appear instead, connecting the world and time in the story more. These don’t appear at the beginning–not until more than halfway through, in fact–but it’s still a bit of an “oh yeah, them!” moment.

The weird thing about Wandering Fortunes as you can see with what chapters I’ve put up is the second half is a different planet. With an entirely different setting, there’s not much call for characters from the first half coming back. My fourth book will be a little like that too, in fact. But in future books this happenstancing of old character return meetings is something I might experiment with. It’s probably easier both to do and make significant if it’s planned from the outset, and I do write outlines before I write stories, but in the case of Wandering Fortunes the meeting was both added in the editing phase and spur of the moment.

Wandering Fortunes Intermission is up

Wandering Fortunes Intermission is just a short piece to bridge the first and second parts of the book. It’s not much! It’s a bit fun.

It’s up a bit late; the last couple days my foot has been in pain again (it used to do this yearly around this time; it skipped last year for whatever reason) so I’ve been kind of out of commission on doing things. The next chapter should be up on Patreon tomorrow. I hope I’ll be up to mess with it.

This month’s new profile is… a rerun?? How about just some end-of-year plans instead?

Okay so this is hilarious and dumb. This month I was going to post a new species profile for Help Blocks. They’re not really a species but as a special type of robot I figured I would detail them. After I put it up for Patreon–$3+ patrons get to read those things early–I realized… I already had a profile page up for them! Somehow I’d missed that and typed them in as still needing one! I didn’t realize this until after writing a new one, but the new one was better so I put that up, so it’s still new in a way! (That said, it appears to have not been added to the Species page, so… what am I even doing????? Did I never make it public? Did I just not add it to that page? My head hurts. Moving on.)

So anyway you might be wondering why the font is different. WELL. WordPress used to not carry the font over from word documents, where I copy chapters and stories from, but it did take other formatting such as italics. Well now it takes the font, so either I have to start using the font I use in word documents (Corbel) or remove the font every time I post a new chapter. So this is my way of saying, hey, guess what, you’re going to start reading everything in Corbel! Uh, let me know if it’s worse. It seems kind of thinner, but that might be because it’s sans-serif, and I’ve read that it’s easier to read sans-serif on computer screens than serif anyway. Maybe at some point I’ll get around to updating older pages with the font change, and I really should because it’ll look bad being different at places, I wonder actually if there’s a way to just set it to automatically make everything the same font, in fact let me look right now… Okay it looks like there might be but it doesn’t have Corbel so bleah. To do so otherwise might be to dig through code and let me be honest I would rather brute force it than mess with code. My head hurts enough as it is.

SO. ANYWAY. I said I was going to discuss plans for the rest of the year! November 1st is not a new Wandering Fortunes chapter, but instead I’ll be posting a new short story! We’ll be visit some old friends, or enemies, or acquaintances, or something. It’s sad and lonely and lava. Should be fun! Then, in December, an intermission for Wandering Fortunes. It’s not a full chapter, and in fact it’s really short, so the end of the year might be a bit light on content, but on the flipside I’m hoping to have another one of those Top! Interruptus! scene thingies. The Wandering Fortunes intermission will actually go up on Patreon November 1st, a month early–with this, I’m going to start putting chapters up a full month early instead of half a month, so patrons get an even better bonus! (I’m also considering rearranging some rewards, but more on that when I get to it.)

Anyway, that’s about that. Might also have a small chance of a preview for another project before the year’s end, but honestly, don’t hold your breath, it’s had quite a few snags along the way–but I’m really hoping to have at least a preview by February, the one-year anniversary of Darmenzi‘s full release…

New! Wandering Fortunes Chapter 20: To the Ends of Zhop

Here we are, chapter 20 of Wandering Fortunes, the longest chapter in the novel so far and the end of part 1! Alden and his friends have to flee Zhop from the Zhopian Guard. They get what family they can and make a great escape–or at least an adequate escape–well, I certainly hope it’s adequate. With the way things look, they might need a leg up–but the Zhopian Guard might even shoot that leg off! The jerks. I don’t even know if they’ll make it…

Of course, you can find out more about what will happen sooner, you can give to my Patreon or make a one-time Ko-fi donation. You’ll get to read chapters early and pretty much find out more about what I’ll be posting for the next rest of the year.

New Location Profile for the entire planet of Zhop

19 chapters in and I figured it was about time to talk about the actual planet Wandering Fortunes has taken place on so far, Zhop. It’s not really a nice place. In fact, it’s a bit of a mess.

Wandering Fortunes Chapter 19: Homesickening

Here it is. Chapter 19. Ropak, Alden, and Top return home one last time. The Zhopian Guard is after them, they have to leave the planet, and they want to see their families one last time.

And then Ropak sees something horrible.

And then Ropak does something horrible.

This is probably the darkest chapter I’ve yet done. This is the one where everything is sad.

Species Profile: Kudeso

The last Wandering Fortunes chapter featured a kudeso as a major character, so I figured let’s take a look at this speed freak bird species. Here’s the profile page for kudesos, which I think just about wraps up all the major Zhop species. There may be a few more here and there.

Just a reminder, those who give to my Patreon can read chapters half a month early, and the next chapter will be going up later today (or tonight depending on when I doze off today). Same with my Ko-fi–send a cup, read the next chapter early!

Wandering Fortunes Chapter 18 is up

Here’s Wandering Fortunes chapter 18: At Odds and Endings. Alden and his friends have been imprisoned for discovering corruption in the city, but even if they manage to get out of jail can they escape the cold arm of the mafia? Plans have to be made, and Top’s a wild card–which might work in their favor.

If you like this chapter and want to read more, you can help me out at my Patreon or Ko-fi. A dollar a day keeps the–wait, sorry–a dollar a month keeps the… thing… thinging. I dunno. gimme money.

New character profile for Chillone

For the first time in about a year a new character profile is on the website–Chillone, the ruthless snowble in power in New Zhopolis. They’ve just made their first appearance in the most recent chapter, and they’re a big meany jerk. Well, a small meany jerk.

In other news, my Patreon has updated–goals are no longer based on money but on how many patrons I have. The first goal is just ten–I’m already 20% there!–but an excellent goal to reach is 100, where I start a comic series (drawn by good artists who aren’t me!) where you get to email characters and then they’re all confused because who the fig is emailing them asking about their personal life, well better answer the question, but not replying to it via email, no, let’s just speak the response out loud as if the sender is right there.

I promise it’ll be better than that made it sound.