Being consumed

When we write something, we expect it to have an appropriate emotional response in our audience. What I didn’t expect was to be completely consumed by the characters.

This can be a dangerous game.

They are omnipresent. You find yourself thinking “what would my character do if I gave them this situation?” Sometimes, they can consume us so much that we all but disappear until they’re finished.

Some characters provide an excellent outlet for all of the feelings that we as adults have been taught to suppress. In fiction you can play with scenarios; what would happen if I didn’t go to work, drove into the sea, screwed those people (metaphorically and physically). A character can take a hidden part of your personality and exaggerate it, expanding it into someone you wish you could be. They can be inspirational and lead to a lot of discoveries (not always pleasant) about ourselves.

For my first NaNoWriMo attempt in 2011 I wrote about bullying and mental health but began the story with a dramatised scene of one of my own life events. This took me down a path of self-discovery and acceptance, which forced me to re-evaluate some of the critical relationships in my life.  

The character I began toying with more recently made me realise I had tipped over the edge of another unpleasant facet of my own personality, and although I am not as obsessive as my character appears to be I found I was putting more and more of my own experienced emotion into the monolgue. 

I began to dislike the character, her focus, and her energy. She was (and is) too intense and all encompassing.  

She makes for a difficult read. 

She makes for an even more difficult write. 

She was in danger of consuming me so I felt the need to distance myself from her. 

Being a writer can sometimes feel like you’re going a bit mad, but in the most glorious fashion.


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