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!