Neanderthal – the development of a character

Neanderthal – the development of a character

One of my main characters, Roger Comstock, who came to play a large part in the novel, started life as a minor character. I had originally imagined him in a walk on part, never to be heard of again.

I wanted an expert on Neanderthals and created a university lecturer. I put in some humour and controversy. He was a man who was inspirational for his students, could connect and formed good relationships. I wanted him to be charismatic, knowledgeable, warm, compassionate and human.

At first I was merely using him as a vehicle to explain some theories about Neanderthals and to start the ball rolling on their mysterious disappearance.

As soon as I had written that first scene I knew I had created a character who could have a bigger role in the story so I began developing Roger’s part. Before I knew it he had moved into a central position and became instrumental in how the book developed. The character had taken over the story.

Writing a novel is a fluid experience. A character, or idea, or plot line, can deflect you from your original concept. It grows and takes on a life of its own. You have to write fast to keep up with it.

Roger Comstock did that for Neanderthal. He changed the story.

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