3 Threats Character Development - CD3 - Meet Christopher Ogden
The current book in "The Homeplace Saga" series
I am now working on character development for my fourth full novel (sixth book, if you count the earlier novella and the short story collection, now available - American Centennial, see link, under photo - and don't count ebooks) in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga, historical fiction stores. Today I want to share some of my thinking and provide the opportunity for my writer friends to jump in and make suggestions and ask questions about the process, as I go along… please keep your suggestions coming. Thanks to those who have already responded.
This novel will be created using "alternating person, third-person, omniscient" point of view with 6 characters taking those roles. Therefore, this series of occasional Character Development articles is introducing those 6 characters with those roles in mind. I want to review what they have done in the stories to date, describe and discuss how much they have been developed, and then begin to lay out their role or roles in the upcoming novel… how their character will begin, and then change, during the novel. At least, that is my intent.
Today, we will look at Christopher Ogden. He is one of the six, of course. Christopher ("Chris" back then) was a teenager in the opening novel in the series, "Back to the Homeplace," set in 1987. He played a pivotal role in one of the subplots. He and his girlfriend, Jennifer Bevins, were in an automobile accident. Chris lost enough blood to require a transfusion. The ensuing discovery changed his life forever. He was found to have a different biological father, Bart Bevins, the father of his girl-friend, in fact - they were half-siblings… The only father he had always known, of course, was the older lawyer, Carter Ogden. Chris had grown up, just graduated from high school, as the son of this leading lawyer in the community. His father, Carter Ogden, was the lawyer who helped the older Bevins couple establish their will using the unusual "video will" with unexpected provisions for the four Bevins grown children: Karen, Beverly, Bart, and Peter. Christopher's reaction at the time was to go off to college, and law school, as planned. This he had done.
Learn about Christopher's horse and dog here...
Christopher Ogden's development as a person and a "member of family" in the Bevins Trust
Jumping forward nine years, to 1996, we learn in "The Homeplace Revisited" that Christopher was one of the three members of the next generation to have returned to Oak Springs as a young professional (including the name change). He had graduated law school a couple of years earlier and returned to Oak Springs to join his "father" in the Ogden law firm. We also knew, from the first novel, of course, that he was actually the biological son of Bart Bevins, one of the siblings of the Bevins family. So, on his return, in many aspects, he was still dealing with this new reality. He received full acceptance by Bart and the Bevins family as one of them. They were now organized as a family Bevins Trust, coming out of the will provisions, operating on a much enhanced scale in this small town, rural community environment. Christopher was expected to, and did, play a key role in this "family business" as well as become a partner in the Ogden law firm.
By the time we close 1996, in the next novel, "Christmas at the Homeplace," Christopher's life had changed a great deal. His lawyer father suffered from a brain tumor and died, leaving his mother alone. Christopher had become the lead lawyer in the Ogden law firm, and an active Trustee (one of nine) of the Bevins Trust. In his personal live, he had met and married a young lady, Nicole Evans, which added balance and maturity to his life. Although relatively young, these experiences had provided Christopher with added perspective that he will need as he faces the "3 Threats" in 1999.
Christopher was raised by an "older" father to be the successor as head of the law firm. Christopher carried through to live up to how he was raised, and did not change his outlook or behavior upon finding out his "biological father" was someone other than he believed it to be. He stayed on track in his career. To the beginning of the "3 Threats" story, in 1999, there is no reason to believe that he will not stay on this even-keeled track.
Video Book Trailer
The latest novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga, historical fiction stories
What will be next for Christopher?
Of the 6 characters through whom the "3 Threats" stories will be seen, Christopher is probably the least likely to exhibit change. He is a "point-of-view" character because a lot of action will be going on around him, not necessarily because he is the specific center of attention in these stories. His relationship with Beverly (more on her, upcoming) is neutral. He was not at all involved in her hysterics at the will reading and thereafter in 1987. In 1999, she will be returning as an aunt (now rich in her own right), mother of local "cousins" of Christopher in his new family, and grandmother to a new baby. He is not threatened, personally by her. Or, at least, he has no reason to expect he will be. Christopher will have become a father, himself, as we pick up the storyline early in 1999. Based on his past activity, he will take this in stride as he does everything else in his life.
When Christoper is made aware of the second threat, the threat to the legal existence and financial stability of the Bevins Trust, which his father was instrumental in creating for his clients, we can expect to see Christopher rise to this challenge, and face it head on. He will use all of his logic, determination, and acquired and natural skills as a lawyer to seek out a solution to the challenge presented. He will recall advise from his lawyer father, before that father died, that will allow him to achieve a solution to the problem. However, it will take time, a cool and calm demeanor, and perhaps a little luck for this to occur, of course.
His reaction to the third threat will be a combination of the first two. While he will not be directly affected by the tornado, people and things he cares about, and feels responsible for, will be seriously impacted. Expect Christopher to maintain a cool head, a clear mind, and facilitate appropriate reactions to this natural disaster scenario. He will both lead and support the efforts to recover from the devastation wrought by the tornado across the Oak Creek valley.
The remaining questions related to Christopher: 1) What role will he play in the 3 Threats story lines, specifically and in detail? 2) How will he respond to his involvement in each of the 3 threats? 3) How will his relationship with his wife, Nicole, and and his child be affected? 4) How will he change as the story unfolds? Will he change? In what ways?