OK, I’ll have to admit they’re cardboard characters. I do little to develop her three great-aunts in my novel What’s Left, the ones Cassia and her brothers and cousins simply refer to as the Erinyes. Unlike the classic Greek marble statues, these have no redeeming qualities from the perspective of the story. They’re out-and-out evil forces, having fled the family rather than staying put where they’re needed. But they have enough influence to wreck everything, given a chance. And, yes, I’m still startled by Sandra’s outburst in my final revision. Let me know what you think when you get to that part.
As an author, I rather like the way they might simply dance across the stage as a trio arm-in-arm. And then back. Like a storm cloud, even.
I also like the way they serve as a foil to Cassia’s father and the others who voluntarily join the family the Erinyes had so readily fled at the earliest opportunity. Should I say abandoned?
Could it be they’re cardboard characters with a marble veneer? Do we even need to name them, individually?
I even delight in the weasel home-breaker who appears in their place further along in the plot — the one who aligns herself with their monetary claims. Oh, but that’s such an insult to weasels.
Here was one consideration I cut from an earlier draft:
What if the Erinyes had married into Baba’s side — something like it, out in Iowa or Salt Lake City?
And then moved on to Orlando or Orange County? No, they were bound for big cities. Which is where your Baba expected to thrive.
I dunno, but I’d guess they’d wear globs of makeup and tons of jewelry and loud stretch pants and perhaps even vote for Trump.
As an author, I can’t even forgive them for the way they treated Bella when she began working in the family restaurant, much less their threatening actions in the years when Cassia fights to preserve something for her own generation.
They have me thinking of the phrase “bad eggs.” I’ve seen more than a few in my own time … in my own life, actually.
Have you ever seen someone break up a relationship, a home, or a business? Anywhere else? What was the cause? What did they do? What could others do in response? What was your experience?