(Warning! This blog post is an author rambling about a frustrating character. It has not been proof read. It is not cohesive or logical in any way. There are possible spoilers for all three of my novels. This blog post was written to try and label an obnoxious character. Honestly, it is more like a writer diary than a blog post. Read on if you want to see the frightening, unorganized mound that are my thoughts, or if you want my novels spoiled. Seriously. Just ignore this post.)
While I'm really excited about writing Flake Frost in November, I'm also a bit nervous. Why? Because Flake is not, and I don't think ever will be, a hero. If anything, she's an anti-hero, but even that is generous.
In the past two Leverage novels, Ember Flame and Hail Frost, the title character started as a hero and ended as a hero. They were more than just the protagonists, they were truly good. Yes, they had their major flaws and yes, they messed up. But both of them listened to their conscience and tried to do what they thought was the right thing from the beginning. Sometimes they were wrong and would select the wrong thing, but it was never out of any sense of malice or hatefulness.
Ember was selfish, to a degree. She liked surviving. But when confronted with people who, she thought, deserved to survive, she would try to help them too. That's good. From the very beginning, Hail knew he was a bad person and he strove to fix himself. He found out later that he cannot fix himself and that he needed Elethor's mercy, but the fact that he was trying to make things right shows that, at his core, he was always a hero.
Flake is not like them. She's selfish, and knows it. She twists and manipulates people in ways to gain her own ends. She constantly chooses the easy path. She'll do the brave, righteous thing occasionally, but only when there is an audience evaluating her. That, in itself, is manipulative.
Flake is angry, even more so than Hail. Hail hated himself, Flake hates her circumstances. In 'Ember Flame', Flake does change into a zombie during the final battle because of her distrust of Elethor. It is only because of Hail and Ember that she got her soul back.
Of all the Leverage, she is probably the one with the least terrible backstory. And yet, her past is the one filled with the most darkness and lies.
Yes, Flake does have some good qualities. She has a soft spot for kids. She is more than capable of love. She knows when something becomes too dangerous and she will tear herself away, even if it breaks her heart. She is a Leverage, and she doesn't want to change that.
Flake loves to play the hero. But she just isn't one. And no matter how much I think and outline and plot the story in my head, I can't force her to be the hero. I can't create a story that matches her personality, and that also sets her as the hero.
I thought that maybe she would be an anti-hero, someone who acts as a villain throughout the entire story then changes to hero at the end, but even that didn't seem to fit. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and she'll surprise me in the end. Flake has been the character to surprise me the most.
When I wrote her originally, I wrote her to be a "filler" character. I did not intend to focus on her very much, and thought she would be a good "mother" type character to the Leverage. You know, the character that will pop up every now and then with some good advice, and then disappear for the rest of the book? Yeah. All in all, Flake was very...flaky. And that was how I planned her.
But now I realize that Flake has been behind almost everything that has happened in Holdinus since the Leverage parents were murdered. She's the most masked, most sneaky, character I have written. She's a paradox of raw emotion and stoic coldness. She's a conglomeration of innocence, love, hatred, anger, manipulation, darkness, ice, softness, sharpness, and lies. She's hard to figure out, and yet, she is so very simple.
She reminds me of Sicreet. Maybe I should follow that theme in my novel?
So in the end, I don't know what Flake is supposed to be. I don't think Flake Frost will have one protagonist; I have several characters I am going to be regularly jumping POVs between. Hail and Ember will be the heroes of the story. A newcomer, Feldryn, is the principal villain, but he is backed up by other villains Valin and Felicta. Snow is Ember's mentor. Ash teaches Hail some important lessons, so I guess that makes her a mentor. Dray is what I like to call a "messenger" character. (I'll probably do a blog post on that...) Klina, Rime, and Nyle are allies.
That leaves Flake and Maybelle. Maybelle is a fascinating character, a lot like Flake, and yet, the exact opposite of Flake. At first, I thought Maybelle would be the character with the largest character arc. I thought she would turn from good to evil. But after delving deeper into her character...I don't know. Maybelle has such a hidden strength within her. I think she can withstand the darkness.
Flake? I don't know. I just don't know.
If anything, I think Maybelle will end up being that "theme encompassing" character.
Flake plays the hero, and she plays the villain. She plays whoever is necessary at the moment, meanwhile, only working for herself. She sorta kinda wants to change, but she's not willing to put in the work to do it. She's lazy.
I don't know what is going to happen to Flake. I love her to pieces. I don't want anything bad to happen to her....but knowing Holdinus...
I don't know. I just don't know.
All I know is that she is not a hero.