There are times when you walk a really strange road as a writer, going down some dark paths and scary, twisty highways. As authors we do things to our characters we’d never dream of doing in real life. We make them suffer in a myriad of ways--from the agony of emotional wringers we hope never to experience ourselves to very physical torments.
I kill people…in my books, anyway. I’ve had my characters kidnapped, beaten, burned, cut, threatened, tortured and just about any and every other horrible thing you can imagine. I make my characters suffer…in the interest of writing an engrossing story.
It takes a toll. I generally regard myself as a pretty nice person, and I think most of those who know me would agree. In real life I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a neighbor and a co-worker. I’ve never deliberately harmed anyone that I can remember, and I try to be a positive influence on the world.
So where does all this come from?
In one of my books I wrote a harrowing battle scene where many friends and acquaintances of the book’s heroine were injured in ghastly ways or died, and then I wrote the even more harrowing scene of the aftermath of that battle. It was one of the most difficult scenes I’ve ever written, and one of the most important.
But it left me wrung out and emotionally devastated afterward.
Whenever I write a scene where bad things happen, especially when they happen to good people, as they frequently do in my books, I find myself wondering… Where did that come from?
All that horrible stuff was inside me?