When your character is a brat




photo credit: Winter is coming via photopin (license)


Hello there, beautiful people. Today I thought I'd write something about the writing process, and one of the struggles a writer goes through when creating and molding their characters. From the beginning, I had trouble with the way Emma came out. Was she too wish-washy, too bold, too aggressive? Did she even come across as anything at all? I never had trouble with Jesse or William—somehow they established themselves in my mind exactly as they appear in the book. But Emma, being the go-between, gave me trouble because she was the one who had to react, and her reactions had to draw the reader in, not push them away.

Mind you, I liked Emma from the start. I understood her, sympathized with her, but early responses from some of the first drafts left me worried. She was bland; she didn't react enough, didn't do anything. She just sat there and let things happen. Boring. Then she turned into a bitch. She talked back to her mother, acted incredibly stupid sometimes, was reckless, bitter, and most of all, angry. One agent called her mercurial. Truly, I was furious at myself because deep down I knew what I wanted her to be, but my fears of rejection had gotten in the way and twisted things around. So, I said, forget everyone. I'm rewriting this, and Emma is going to be what she is: good, bad, or stupid.

In the second book the same thing happened, and in the third—the last part of the series. I asked myself, why does Emma keep showing up so harsh and bitchy for me? What am I doing wrong?? Nothing. I just finished the proof edits and there's something magical that happens when you read your novel start to finish with a critical eye—you give up the ghost, so to speak. You stop fighting what your intuition is telling you to do. It's okay for Emma to be a brat, just like it's okay for most of us in real life from time-to-time. It's allowed. Why? Because we change, we evolve. Life molds us into a better person, but in the beginning, and sometimes throughout the middle, we're total brats. Sometimes we suck. Emma transforms and becomes a beautiful woman who wants to make good choices for herself and others, and just like the rest of us, she doesn't stay in one mode forever. I'd call that awesome. I love that she's allowed to be her worst self, because later on we see such a beautiful girl—a girl I created years ago and love now like a child.

Have you ever acted like a brat but it taught you a lesson? Or, did someone else's bad behavior teach you something about yourself, even if it hurt to admit it? Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Comments

  1. I did not see anything wrong with Emma. She is a young woman, with all the difficulties that come with that age. Most of us evolve and change (we all know some that do not) and that is the adventure we call life.

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