"I've decided to have an amusing canny Scot as one of my characters and, whatever happens to him, an amusing canny Scot he will jolly well go on being - and like it!"This afternoon, I finished The Dark Tower, which is a posthumous collection of unfinished short stories by C.S. Lewis. (My favourite author- if you haven't guess by the gazillion times I've quoted or mentioned him.) Now, after most of the pieces, there was a slight commentary by his biographer, and on one of them, there was the note written by Lewis' friend, Rodger Lancellyn Green. (Somehow I missed that RLG was part of the Inklings! Gah! I've loved RLG for ages!)
Anyways, after "The Dark Tower", which was the longest bit of story, the notes were longer than the others. For those who don't know, TDT was written to be part of the Space Trilogy- which wasn't to have been a trilogy. I think it was something of a cycle. (Although none of the books were written with the intention of being followed.) TDT would have come either before Perelandra or That Hideous Strength, I'm not exactly certain which, most likely the former. And one of the main characters, as far as Lewis wrote the story, was MacPhee.
I loved MacPhee as soon as I read about him in That Hideous Strength. Maybe it's his sarcastic, Scottish stoicism, mixed with his determination to be skeptical about everything, even if the most die-hard of disbelievers had long since admitted defeat. So, naturally, I very much enjoyed The Dark Tower. Anyways... I ramble.
Owen Barfield, a close friend of Lewis', told Walter Hooper (the biographer) that Lewis had turned to him one day, saying he'd invented a character and just needed to put him in a story. The first place he stuck him was The Dark Tower. Then, when he gave up writing that, he put him in That Hideous Strength. The best bit, for those who've read the last one, is that he's the same character. Not a bit different for being in another story. And that's when he gave Lewis' quote on MacPhee, which I put at the beginning of this post.
It took every bit of me to not giggle in the library when I read that. So often, I'll find myself thinking of a character, and just wanting to use him, with no definite plans as to his purpose, or even what sort of story to stick him in. And, it made me think of Jhaniel- I'm sure she'd have loved this book. (Jhaniel, if that's not enough incentive for you, there's a snippet that he wrote about a story related to Troy. It made me laugh several times... )
Someday, when asked why I write in characters that may or may not have impacted the story greatly, I'm just going to quote Lewis. And my characters will like it!