Psychologist to A.I. Scientist

In the initial notes for what would become Apollo Burn, Anora was a psychologist. I wrote whole drafts with her character in that sense.

They were terrible.

Why? Psychologists are smart and can be quite useful in a story. No, that wasn't the problem.

The issue was that her original conception was solving the wrong problem. She wasn't the main character as a psychologist (this is not a thriller or literary fiction that's best served with such a character lens).

So what was Anora's role? Originally, she was brought into Avallach to improve the program and to understand what made Arthur tick. With the high pace ending of Fall to Earth, that no longer worked. And with the shift away from focusing on Arthur as the main character, Anora had to be reinvented. It took half of another rough draft for me to realize the problem with it wasn't the story--it was the character. Anora didn't have enough agency, which is really important for the main character.

It was logical for her to become an Artificial Intelligence scientist, and a brilliant one at that. She follows in the footsteps of her mentors--Maven, her brother and guardian, and Nimue Scatha, who had lit the spark of her interest in computer science at a very young age. Add in some open threads regarding Janus and Oracle, and a lot of Apollo Burn wrote itself.

Don't be afraid to change your character so she can tell a better story.

Kenneth Britz