It’s a lengthy process! Honestly, the characters that I have now are a very far cry from the characters I had when I first conceived the story many years ago.
Emmy used to be a much darker character, and she committed suicide in the narrative, only to be brought back to life. She was a manifestation of the very, very dark places I occupied several years ago. I’m glad the character has changed—because it shows I’ve changed, too.
Zecha wasn’t always a main character. Initially, he was part of a pair of hunters who found Charo. The other was called Leyta, but as the narrative went on and I realised Zecha was more interesting than I’d given him credit for, his role grew and there was no place for Leyta any longer.
Charo was originally a completely different character, with a purpose in the novel related to Mantos and Bandim’s storyline. However, as the focus of the narrative shifted, her purpose had to change, too. She’s still very important, and she’ll eventually fulfil some of her original intent, but in a different way.
In terms of storyline, I start with a vague idea, and I know exactly where I need to end up. I find the process of plotting an organic thing. The more I write, the more I get to know my characters, the more the plot changes. It’s all very much in flux!