Sinful Characters

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Have you ever sat to write, imagined the character you’re writing about and wondered why on earth they’re doing what they’re doing?
Silhouette of a man

Their acts are so beyond your understanding that it seems impossible to write. Yet somehow you have to.

I have a character who is handsome and charming. He’s a man who could talk you into loving him. A man who would do anything to make you his. But…

Beneath all that he is broken. His fractured personality makes me afraid. I’m scared of the depths he’ll go to. I’m terrified he’ll unleash a part of my own personality I didn’t know was there. 

I’m stuck. To write my next chapter I need to listen to the sinful part of him; to subject myself to his depravity. The part of me that is quite happy where I am (thank-you-very-much) wants nothing to do with him. Then there’s the other part, the little voice in the back of my head pressing me to ask questions that would make him mad. 

My own fear is holding me back.

Understanding his motives is one thing, but I need to be there while he does what he does. I would say ‘a fly on the wall’ but it’s more than that. I have to feel what he feels; think as he does. 

When this character came to me his story unfolded. I knew I’d be researching sensitive topics but it didn’t sink in. I didn’t realise how complicated things would get.

As a mother and a wife how do I get to that dark place? When school-runs and chores are in the back of my mind how can I join my character in his madness?


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14 comments:

  1. That's a tough one, especially if you haven't experienced the things he has. You have to let your character reach rock bottom though and for him to come through it by the end of the story and I can understand that his life doesn't exactly fit with yours! Have you found any blogs or articles written by people who have experienced something similar? Perhaps they can help you imagine how it would feel to be in that situation.

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    1. Thanks for the advice Nicola. Unfortunately this kind of character scares me less than speaking to someone who may have experienced what he has! But yes, I'll keep that in mind for future research, thanks. :)

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  2. This sounds really tough, and I have no idea what advice to give you - other than what Nicola has said above. Good luck with immersing yourself in his story and coming through the other side x

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    1. It is very scary Sara and thankfully it's half term now and I've been able to do the chapter and come through the other side. :)

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  3. It sounds like your character is very dark - I want to know more about him! I'm not surprised you're finding it tough though - it's can be emotional enough getting drawn into a character's world when you like them but to get pulled into darkness and depravity - gulp. I've not really explored a character of this type myself (yet) so I'm not sure what to advise. Maybe just feel the fear and fling yourself in anyway - set yourself a timer that goes off at school run time and turn off the phone so you can totally immerse yourself until then? Looking forward to hearing what you decide to do! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

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    1. Oh thanks for that Maddy. I did manage to do it in the end, it was scary though. I am glad it's half term now though, break from it all is great. :)

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  4. I find that when I need my darker moments, I have to have space and quiet. I definitely can't manage anything when the children are around. I'd set aside some time, but not too much and dedicate it to the darkness. Good luck with it :)

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    1. Yep space and quiet are perfect for the darker moments. Allowing the darkness in was probably the scariest thing I've done so far as a writer and I'm still trying to shake images. I'm glad it's half-term so that I can spend some time being distracted by the kids! :)

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  5. I think you HAVE to go and explore him. It'll make him a deeper character. It's hard when you don't want to delve too much because you might end up admitting things you don't want to admit, or knowing things you don't want to know, but that's part of our job as writers.
    Finding time to do it is the problem. It all comes back to prioritisation. While you're writing him, can you set yourself a timeslot every day where you are alone to think and be? x

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    1. That's great advice Chrissie! Thank you. You're right about prioritisation and I did manage it. But yes having that time where I could just sit and be was essential.

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  6. I think it can be hard finding the time and space to get inside the head of a character like this. And once you do, it can be tricky finding your way back into everyday life again! Good luck with exploring this character further and I'm looking forward to reading about him when you're ready.

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    1. Thank you Emily. It's been good having the kids off school because I've found it easier to get back to everyday life. Spending time with the character is a challenge but I'll do it. I've pushed through my fears now and done it once so next time it should be easier. :)

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  7. I so identify with this at the moment! My antagonist is really quite twisted, and I think I've sort of been distancing myself from the workings of his mind by telling the story from my protagonist's point of view. When I let myself shift to his perspective last week I actually ended up having nightmares! It had to be done though. I found the best way in was not to think too much but just to write and see what came out. Good luck! X

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    1. Sophie you are so right. In the end I did just write. It was like magic and although I had to think about motives and such, I still just wrote. Glad for the break this week though. :)

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