Do Bad Things To Those You Love

There are many reasons for writing a story. That thing that inspired you, the character(s) that would not shut up, that horrible tragedy you suffered, or a place you visited or book you read that required some sort of artistic response.

However you wound up here, you are beside me and all of the other fiction novelists wanting to bring your book to life.

When I first started writing, I discovered a few characters I really wanted to know. I wrote a draft of a book with them in it, and it was terrible. But, it was also a stepping stone up to a bigger world and some of the characters stayed with me. I want to write because of them and I want you to care about them.

The hard part about this is that I can’t just tell you about their day. I could describe their upbringing, dreams and nightmares, and where they live and the people they know in their world. But that would be stupid boring to you. They’ve lived in my head for a decade and I know them very well. If I mentioned them to you, you might be nice and say you care but you don’t. You don’t know them like I do and I get it.

This is going to hurt.

So, I have to do bad things to them. I have to put them in horrible situations and sometimes even kill some of them so you will care. I have to make you worry for their safety, wonder about the impact of a lie they told or a discovery that they have to hide from everyone or the world may end.

In the next book in my series I killed a character in the opening. The characters I created have already suffered enough in book one, but this one had to go. It just didn’t make sense for them to continue and they had to exist in the previous book. Now, they are gone. The hard part about this is that I loved them. I truly did. I had someone in my life just like them when I was fifteen.

Writing is fun. It’s a thrill to put together a story and even more so when people enjoy reading it. It is also hard because in the end, we may have to torture them.

How about you writer? Are you having a hard time hurting those imaginary people you love?



The Lives of Characters

The last few weeks writing has been replaced with meticulous editing. I will send chapters off to friends shortly and that goal is a marker that helps me stay focused. However, there are many instances that I run out of steam and I find it hard to come back to the chapter again. After nine revisions of one single chapter, the thrill of finishing is long gone. It is replaced with a long laborious haul. Writing is hard work.

When I started writing my novel I knew that it was the beginning of a series. During the planning process I wrote out the lives of each character. Some would die, some would mature. Some would fall in love, and others would search for loved ones and give up hope. These are the things I am excited to share with my readers and why I decided to write in the first place.

At this point of the editing process it is not the thought of completing the book that drives me.  Rather my character’s dreams and hopes that pull me onward and cannot be silenced. They push themselves to the forefront of my mind and interrupt my day. I think of them while driving or walking of spending time with my family. They are in the driver’s seat begging me to continue, for they want to live.

I write this post because many writers have said at some point characters begin to write themselves as if alive. I thought it hogwash and some silly artist nirvana. Now I understand. Custo, Hailea, Sapien, Maero, Comitis, Nimrodur, Elidur, Lenis, Camilla, and the rest of you. I will finish. Be patient with me.