Thomas Wolfe once had a conversation with Ella Winter in which the latter told him, "Don't you know you can't go home again?" This then became the title for Thomas Wolfe's book You Can't Go Home Again. Everything changes. Nostalgia is simply a facade that will never manifest again. It's true in real life and, at least I feel, that it's key to a good character.
In my novel, The Paladin, Jonathan Sutter steps into the world of the paranormal. His mentor is taken by a demon. His old life is burned away, leaving him no path back to normality. It's pretty standard in most good stories, but I wonder how much we actually reflect on it.
As I grow older, the idea of not going home becomes more poignant and personal. My old home town has nothing that was there when I was growing up. My old friends moved across the country. My parents have both passed away. I have no way to recover that feeling, to relive my youth.
That's a feeling we'll all have to deal with, eventually, and it's a real, human experience that can enrich a novel. It's a real condition with consequences that will affect your characters. Failing to address it will only distance those characters from your reader. Jonathan will have to learn how to deal with this new world, he'll have to find a new normal, because the life he had when he didn't know about demons, when he was just a student attending the Seminary, is a life he can never return to.
Be Excellent to Each Other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.