Well, it’s half-way through NaNoWriMo and I’m doing well. I’m in front, which I’m pleased about, considering I’ve got quite a bit on.
I have swapped projects because – yes, I’m a rule-breaker! A big rebel! But I’m also putting a character through some trauma that means I have to change other works with this particular character. All for the good, I promise!
A lot of the time I get asked ‘why do you put your characters through so much?’ and I’ve even had said ‘I will take MC away from you! You can’t be trusted with them!’.
I think we do it because our own lives are so boring and mundane. It’s drummed into us that chaos and trauma can make someone grow. In reality, though, sometimes it can tear them apart. I think that’s why some writers do this to their characters. Because they know real life is a lot more dangerous.
I’ve noticed that the audience gravitates to Michael Downey Jnr’s Tony Stark and I’d like to believe it’s because he played him as a damaged and tragic hero. Same with Spiderman. Always in a Spiderman movie, there is one tragic death that makes him the deeper character he becomes.
We know in reality it does not always happen that way. Often, the survivor is left with PTSD or other conditions related to trauma. I think in books we tend to forget that that happens to people. That even characters are people and all of the trauma in their lives goes into making them the people in the books. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong. Where do we draw the line, though, is a question we all ask ourselves. How far do I push my MC? How far do I push his family, friends? Because the secondary characters around the MC are also traumatised by what we do to our MCs. They, like our real family, our real friends, have to live with what the MC is experiencing.
And they all have to get past it and somehow live out their lives.
Character building – it’s a work in progress …