This weekend, at the inaugural meeting of my new writing group, a friend pointed out that the main character in my story was hard to connect with. She was just too cold, too unemotional. I jotted down a note to fix that.
Jotting down a note doesn't seem like a major milestone, but for me, it was. You see, characters in my first drafts are always unemotional. I just don't write characters that emote. At least, not in a first draft. This has tormented me for about three years. In fact, I thought there was something wrong with me. Was I a cold, heartless monster with no feelings in my heart? Was I completely clueless when it came to human relationships? Was I doomed to never write anything good in my entire life?
(If you're not reading that last statement as a prolonged wail, you have clearly never spent time around me while I was unhappy.)
But something happened a few months ago. Either I grew up (fat chance), or I learned a thing or two about the way I write. I am motivated to write stories by wondering what happens next. And when I sit down to write a story, I already feel very strongly attached to my characters; I usually can't put down a first paragraph unless I've already gotten a good sense of the character's voice. So as I write, I'm usually focused on the puzzle of what happens next and am overwhelmed by the emotional experience of the characters, which are so close to me that they feel like my very own experiences. I'm so into the moment that I sometimes forget to fill in the blanks for my readers.
The good news is that all of that is fixable in the revision process. I'm not broken; I'm just forgetting to share everything I know about my world and my characters. This is something entirely obvious to anyone but me. I've made myself extremely miserable worrying about this stuff.
Yeah. I'm that level of dumb.
But I do have a fun new story coming out in the Lovecraft eZine this week, and I have an AWESOME new Lovecraft eZine tee shirt!
Plus this weekend is the HP Lovecraft Film Festival! I can't wait to see my fellow Lovecraftian creators!