Back When

Back when I needed  a new character, I cast a net for who they were. I found he was male, and a scientist. I named him Professor Kything in honor of the communication technique L’Engle employed in “A Wrinkle In Time.”

I didn’t know much about my new character. I’m an organic writer. I knew he would grow into something, but when I introduced him, he was a minor character, essentially a cardboard prop at the moment.

He grew, though, as my primary hero encountered him. As I developed a description, he became based on a person I used to work with. A senior research and development engineer, my co-worker managed to be smarmy, arrogant, and condescending in almost every encounter with me, usually with a smirk. Since my new character was evolving into a major villain, remembering this former co-worker was very helpful. He was supposed to be a deep thinker, but the certainty of his own knowledge kept him from thinking too deeply. He was dismissive of others instead of working with them to advance ideas, and he was conceited, a womanizer, and a liar.

Most of my characters aren’t based on one person. They’re typically composites of others I know (including me), so this guy, being based on one person, is different. When using composites, I generally think about how one of the composites that I know would react in the situation. That helps me stay consistent, even when the person I base them on is inconsistent and unpredictable, which translate to the same for my character and their behavior.

My cultured dislike for the fellow behind Professor Kything works well for this villain. I’m posting about him today because he was active and smug yesterday, crowing about how much smarter he is than others, and he’s going to be exposed today for the fool that he is.


Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.


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