The other day I was tearing up. My eyes were watering as I was contemplating a predicament. The empathy that I normally am burdened with was under high duress as I wrote a chapter that placed a character in a position that was truly worse than death…
I am used to writing passages that place characters in my stories into positions that put them through literal hell. For instance, I nearly tortured Safiya, the Syrian Sentry from The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle with nearly insurmountable burdens placed upon her, including the deaths of many loved ones that happened right before her eyes, and she being unable to do anything about it.
The other day, however, I took it to a level I didn’t think I was sure I could do.
In writing Of Earth and Ice, I wrote the events to a planned character death… and holy shit I didn’t think that I could fuck a character up more than I am doing now. I almost feel cruel.
Thankfully this is all fiction, right?
I jest, but it does speak to the idea of facing the darkness inside us all. As a writer, we have to dream up these outlandish scenarios in order to create drama. Or more importantly, to create an obstacle for the protagonist to overcome.
I have a friend who one time looked at me after discovering I was a writer and he said something along the lines of writers being crazy. He talked about how we dream up all this crazy stuff, that in fact, we are crazy ourselves. Maybe he was onto something.