I'm spending a lot of time focused on my antagonist right now. I think I've come to her primary motivation. It's in her past, of course, and neatly echoes Trinidad's past. I won't throw in a spoiler here on how it effects the end, except to say that war is hell and touches a lot of people the same ways.

I just finished THE BLACK DAHLIA by Ellroy and I've been thinking a lot about Betty's motivation. She's continually The Victim--she'd been raped and two servicemen had saved her. The whole story is a tumble-down cacophony of ruined and failed characters, but I keep coming back to her and that rescue being a prime motivation. She for whatever reason couldn't have children and obsessed on it to the point of seeking out servicemen to impregnate her. Oh, I think she was poor and maybe abused. But there has to be mental illness there, right? The attraction to servicemen only takes me so far with that character; it feels unfinished to me. (Granted, that might've been Ellroy's intention. She only comes on stage after she's dead.)

So here I come to my own character, an antagonist whose past informs her future in a similar way, and I suspect it's not enough for her. She needs a little roughing up around the edges and I'm not sure what that looks like. I do know she's a liar and a manipulator. I suppose she's rather narcissistic. It's started to fall into place, now that I realized she gets at the heart of why I'm writing the book: my struggle to understand crusade and jihad and extremist beliefs.

I just can't help wondering if rising to extreme faith can make one's fall that much deeper.

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