A family is an intense, subtle and complex social entity where human relationships exist in their rawest and richest forms.  Families root themselves deep down into us, whether we realise it or not.  No matter how much you may dislike somebody it is much harder to discard your sympathy for them if you know their family and have a sense of their history.  Families are simultaneously ordinary and unique.  As the saying goes, every family is crazy but in its own special way.  It is where we are most vulnerable and most open and, for the large majority of us at least, most protected.  It is a place of trust almost sacred in its character and consequently a place where the effects of a betrayal of that trust can be so devastating.

One of the frequent devices that we have used to generate depth, sympathy and complexity for our characters is through some sort of reference to family, even for relatively minor characters.  The kidnapping and murder of Monsieur Comtois is made all the more poignant by knowing that he has a family who care for him and are worried by his absence.  Likewise, we have given a family backstory to ‘Paul’, one of Bechard’s spies.  On a number of occasions where we haven’t introduced the family directly into the story we have done so through a character’s monologue such as in the cases of the Southerner, Marie, Giuseppe, Guillaime, Gabrielle and even Leon, one of the Southerner’s henchmen.  In the case of Casanova, we have created a sort of quasi-family with Marie, Stefano and Guillaime as well including a monologue from his mother and flashbacks to when he was a child.  Two notable exceptions are the spymasters De Bernis and Bechard whose secrecy and cold machinations made it more appropriate for their personal histories to be left opaque.

 

‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is freely available here.

27 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.

 

#characterisation #character #storytelling #family #comtois