The Art of Finishing: Characters are Real People Too

Outside of the soon-to-be consistent blog posts and the journaling I do when I’m wrestling with my emotions, all of my writing is fictional. I make up worlds, characters, and story lines for fun. I lie as a form of creative expression. However, I recently realized how close to the truth most of my work is. In one way or another I identify with all of my flawed and unsympathetic characters, even the worst of them.

My characters are the hidden reactions I stifle in order to survive in the free world. They are the what-ifs. What if I had been born at this time and had to deal with this manner of injustice? What if my parents were proud but weak? What if I was a wife who hated her husband but needed to be loved by him?

The characters I write are not nice people. They are misogynists. They are indifferent to the plights of those who struggle around them. They are selfish, impatient, and cruel.

It makes me nervous to think that when readers meet my characters they will judge me for allowing those people to live inside my head. I am a believer, but my imagination is not easily explained and probably not justifiable. It is filled with brokenness.

Does that make me wrong – to have so many flawed people inside my imagination? This is one of the reasons I have had trouble finishing a draft of my novel. I’m afraid of what it might say about me.

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