johnajvide wrote:Hi, there;
John Ajvide Lindqvist here.
Once again I visit these forums and once again I find many interesting discussions going on. One in particular caught my eye: the question of Elis gender and on what point in writing I decided to let Eli be a boy, Elias.
I didn´t really remember, so I went beack to the notes I made while writing the novel (about 90 pages, in all). In december 2000 I made the first one, and it all starts with:
”A vampire story. That takes place in Blackeberg. Not really sure that it is a vampire, but something similar.” a few more paragraphs and I have decided that it is going to be a vampire, and that the vampire is a boy.
The following day I make the decision that the vampire is going to be androgynous (Probably misspelled that one) and that he is, in fact, a castrated boy. This was two months before I even started writing the thing.
First, thank you so much for taking the time to share all this with us. The process by which a successful author builds a novel from scratch has always intrigued me. Especially this beautiful novel.
johnajvide wrote: So, yes, I knew from the beginning that Eli was a boy. What happened when I let Eli meet Oskar was that Eli started to change his behaviour from what I had originally envisioned. I didn´t even know that they were going to fall in love. But I felt that Eli/Elias would try to appear more likeable in order to get closer to Oskar, once he had decided not to kill him (The stroke on the cheek). Since Oskar perceives Eli as a girl, Eli is content with not informing him otherwise, although he can´t help himself on a few occasions. Eli doesn´t want to fool Oskar, he is uncertain if Oskar is going to leave him if the truth comes out.
…Also, I tend to be interested in androgyneous (that word!) characters, and Eli was my first one. I wanted Eli to act as an in-between. Girlish sometimes, boyish sometimes. He can be anything, and he suprised me many times while writing the novel.
It’s good to hear that your characters often take on a life of their own. I’ve thought that this must be the case, but its good to have it verified. Eli’s evolution in the book was particularly realistic to me. And I think you nailed his androgyny perfectly! It was certainly the source of my theory (confusion
) in the thread “Was Eli always Elias?”
johnajvide wrote: …..And as you know, I have written my own ending. (Which, by the way, probably will be included in the American version of Paper Walls which is to be published in a not-too-distant future)
Thanks for verifying the rumors. We are all looking forward to it!
johnajvide wrote: From the beginning Eli was just Eli. A name. A sound. I thought very hard before coming up with that name, and when i chanced upon it I felt it was perfect. Maybe in part because on some subconscious level I knew that it could have many diffrent connotations. And it did.
But from the beginning Eli was just Eli. Nothing. Anything. And he is still a mystery to me.
Well, if he’s a mystery to you, I doubt that he’s a mystery any of us will be able to unravel, although we take great pleasure in attempting it. Thanks again for your valuable input to these discussions!