Writing with Weaknesses: Vodnik Chapter Twenty-One

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

I’ll be honest. I’m still not in love with the random wishy-washiness of the Vodnik in this book. He goes from deciding he wants Tomas dead to deciding he wants to help him–back and forth, back and forth–throughout the whole book, and that’s behavior that tends to bug me. I like my characters to be consistent. To have a single goal, and do everything they can to achieve that goal.

Then again, the Vodnik does know what he wants: to be able to add Lesana’s soul to his teacup collection. He’s been working toward that goal for centuries, and he hasn’t been able to pull it off. Now, in walks Tomas–a boy who he was once good friends with, and who could actually help him get Lesana’s soul once and for all. But the Vodnik realizes Tomas wouldn’t go along with the plan. It’s not “good”–by normal definitions of “good”–definitions the Vodnik doesn’t agree with, but who’s counting?

So he has to make a choice. Does he try to risk tricking Tomas into doing what needs doing, even though Tomas might figure it out and mess the plan up–or does he kill Tomas, take his soul, and try to use it to do what needs doing on his own, even though Tomas’s ability to let creatures of folklore interact with reality in the present might not work once Tomas is dead. (Is that clear as mud? In addition to being a Rasputin, Tomas is able to let creatures from folklore affect the modern world. It’s a limited power, and not fully explored in this book, but it’s what let’s Tomas bring Lesana back to life. Confused?)

The Vodnik has to choose one option, and he just can’t make up his mind. So he waffles between the two, and this inability to pick one choice and go with it ultimately dooms him.

I think people do this all the time in real life. They just don’t do it very often in fiction. In books, people make a decision and stick to it, for better or worse.

So here’s the question for you, faithful readers: Did the Vodnik’s uncertainty annoy you? Do you see this sort of thing happening in other books, too? I’d be interested to hear your take on decision making processes in fiction. Please share!

5 Comments

  • By Reed, October 2, 2012 @ 3:33 am

    I thought it fit with his chaotic-evil alignment…I’m just saying.

  • By Reed, October 2, 2012 @ 3:34 am

    alright maybe closer to chaotic neutral..

  • By Bryce Moore, October 2, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    That’s kind of what I was going for. 🙂 Glad it came across that way.

  • By vdg family, October 3, 2012 @ 12:25 am

    I liked it. When I picture the Vodnik I picture a man who is organized in one area–the teacup souls– other than that I imagine him living in the bottom of a filthy well that gets cleaned once a year-ish. I imagine that living with such disorganization proves that he has a hard time making up his mind (I relate well to the Vodnik on that score). It is probably something left over from being human once. I hope I remember all the details properly.

  • By Bryce Moore, October 5, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    Thanks! Always good to hear what I hoped worked, worked. And that perhaps I’m too much of a critic of my own work sometimes . . .

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