Characters Demand to Be heard

Photo by Руслан Гамзалиев on Unsplash

I have been writing all my life. Yes, all my life, in my head creating characters, worlds and plot lines. Back then I called in pretending. Once I learned the words and how to write them I wrote on paper with fat pencils.

I began self-publishing what I wrote in the early ’90s with a website that I called my journal. It was completely fictitious. I created a character and she entered daily diary entries. I was not clear to my readers at first that it was a fake person. When I revealed about a year later that the person was not me and not a real living breathing flesh and blood human, none of my readers cared. I managed to get about 400 followers. Soon she outgrew the website. I eventually started writing a novel with that person as my main character. It never came to fruition.

The writing part was not difficult when I let my created girl talk for herself. It was when I tried to force her into a box she did not belong in that things got hard. The first novel failed because she was not meant to fit in the confines of a Romance novel. This girl was bigger than that. She resented being forced into a role she was not created for. She was, is an adventure seeker, fearless and independent. When I manipulated her into a damsel in distress looking for a man to save her, she laughed. My writing stopped. My readers revolted and my website was deemed extinct.

When I finally realized what she needed, my writing began to flow again better than before. My husband and I are now co-writing a novel and this new work will cannibalize my first attempt to give this amazing person I created a life in a novel. (The Traveler’s Song will be out late this Summer.) My girl is now happy. She is in a world that allows her to be herself. She is on an adventure with other characters doing what she likes to do.

My best writing advice: Do not attempt to push your created personalities into lives they hate.

Let them be true to who they are, even if that means you must write in a genre or style that is not your normal safe zone. You must be a brave one.

Trust me, if you ignore them, the voices in your head will be loud and deafening.

~Lori O’Gara

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