Monday 22 August 2016

What I love about writing

When a Character Won't Let Me Go

I love the feeling of not being able to sleep at night because a character is consuming my mind. If I am imagining all kinds of new and exciting things for a character to get up to, I know that he's worth writing about. Most of my characters have something sad, lonely or tragic about them, and that's really what grabs me. I want to make sure that the character has the happy ending that he deserves.

While I'm writing, I try to imagine what the character's greatest challenge would be, and then I put them in that situation in my storytelling. Pushing characters to their limits gives them the chance to overcome, to grow and to learn to love themselves, and in the process I grow to love them more as well.

For a character like Darryn in Against the Tide, one of my favorite characters to write, the challenge was about learning to rely on others and to let go of the pride of always wanting to do everything by himself. He needed to learn to accept help and accept the generosity of JP, who was growing to love him. It's usually not interesting enough just to have a character struggle with being gay; I really want to see the flaws and the strengths at play, and to see the character use resources that they never knew they had in order to come out of their challenges stronger than ever.

When I start tearing up while writing a chapter, I know I'm on to something. That means that the character has really come alive. Finding true love is usually a part of their journey, but it's not the whole journey. The romance is something that is equally challenging for the character: here you have to face someone who is so different to you, who is exposing all of those things you were trying to run from, and who you are slowly realizing means so much to you. The first kiss usually makes me excited as well, since the characters really have to work for it.