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Friday, September 9, 2011

Not Sure If I'm Coming or Going These Days...


It's been one of those weeks. Too much stuff going on to keep up, but I will say this, I've acquired a lot of good fodder in my comings and goings. It's amazing what ideas strike at the least expected times!

Before I continue, I'd like to thank my good friend, Lily Robinson, for the shoe picture. She sent me an email with several, and this one was perfect for how I'm feeling now.

Okay, so, where was I? Oh, yes. Fodder. It comes at the oddest times. My kids, all three of them, have had life changing events this week. It's a lot to deal with, especially since not all of the events were good. But, here's what I learned...as bad as things can get for my normal, run-of-the-mill kids (our last name is Mills for a reason, you know), it has to be even worse for my characters. In fact, it has to be so devastatingly worse, that I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on my most awful enemy.

At first, I was hesitant to cause my characters so much suffering. Just like I am with my kids. The last thing I want is for them to go through anything less than utter happiness. But then (and I knew it all along but refused to admit it), I realized my characters would suffer a far greater defeat if I didn't really let them have it. They'd never see the light of day if I didn't put them through the most awful kind of hell.

So I did. And, you know what else I realized? Writing hell for my characters made all the little crappy things my own kids were going through seem like a walk in the park (trite, I know, but this a blog, people, not a novel!)

Anyways, my point is this...writing YA has always been an escape for me. It took me back to my own youth. Now, it's an even greater escape. I get to take all the bad stuff that happens to my kids, quadruple it, and dump it in the lap of my characters. It doesn't get much better than that.

Do you ever transfer your own suffering, or that of your family, onto your characters?

Have a great weekend!

23 comments:

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I suppose a lot of my feelings transfer - even though I don't know. One of my characters slapped another the other day. Just hauled off and bitch slapped her. I was so shocked. I would never do that, but I've certainly felt like doing it.

Writing is excellent therapy.

jbchicoine said...

Oh sure! Maybe not the exact issues I deal with or have dealt with, but the well of emotional baggage is deep! It's actually great therapy to work things out through characters...where we have ultimate control over how things turn out. How powerful is that!

Bethany K. Mattingly said...

I do! It makes my issues seem a lot smaller. I love writing YA. :)

Patti said...

I've never really thought about it that way, but really writing is great therapy.

Hopefully your kids will be okay.

Carolyn V said...

Oh yeah, I do. Plus I make it worse, because I'm mean that way. ;)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Carolyn V did a post similar to this yesterday--great minds. I really need to improve in this area. I don't torture my characters enough! :-)

Jill Kemerer said...

Yes, and I empathize with my characters because of the pain I've experienced in my own life. It's a good thing!

Melissa Hurst said...

Yes, I've thought about this a lot, especially since some bad things have happened to my family. But it's nothing compared to what I've put my characters through.

I hope your kids will be okay soon.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Absolutely. Many psychological aspects spill into my writing. In many ways it's therapy.
~ Wendy

Jennifer Shirk said...

YES. And sometimes what I write transfers to my life. LOL (Sometimes I get a little down when I have to write the black moment)

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha, ha ... love this post!

Nancy said...

I can't say that I've ever dunped anything on my characters. I love the way you used your writing to help you through a tough time, though. That is the way to do it.

Paul Greci said...

I think it's cool that you are focusing on making things worse and worse for your characters!!

Karina D'Aunoy (Peaceful Sun) said...

Wow, did I ever need to hear this today! I have been writing and writing and writing and a type of
4th step or Lament letter to me and written for all the world to see on my blog. This is my therapy, I feel like through all my pain I can see I chose to use this to develop my character. I too have felt many of the emotions you have and thank you for being faithful to who you are by writing!

Toyin O. said...

I think it probably makes your character more authentic. I hope things get better with your kids.

Kathy said...

Definitely. My novels are usually autobiographical.

WritingNut said...

Yes, definitely--I know exactly what you mean. I hope things get better for you soon! :)

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Hmmm...I can't say I've thought of it that way before, Susan! I know when life gets super stressful, I love, LOVE losing myself (& all my worries) in a good book. But I usually mean reading one! I'll have to give this further thought.

I hope the situations with your kids all turn out all right. Boy, this parenting deal can really mess with your emotions, can't it?!

Tracy Jo said...

I have been writing about my own pain...maybe I should take your advice and create a character! :-) I love the shoes!!!

Fresh Garden said...

I do! I do! ;D

The Tame Lion said...

Excellent! Inspirational!

Unlucky said...

love this post..i enjoyed much!! you are so talented and pretty

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Ron Smith said...

This is a great insight into the act of writing. If we want our characters to live and breathe and come alive in readers' minds, we have to be brutal if the plot calls for it.

When we realize that the characters we create are more than just words on a page, that for our readers to care about them they have to seem real...that's the first step in becoming a great writer.



Best to your kids and family.