I have been working like a mad writer lately, trying to get through the rough draft of the fourth book in my series before I put the finishing touches on the third. I like to make sure that I know where this ship is going so that I can add a bit of foreshadowing here and a few hints there. What I discovered as I blazed through the end yesterday was that I had no idea where this story was going, and I have to say I was shocked at the darkness that is coming for my characters. At the end, I was sad, and in talking (ranting) to my mother, I realized that like a parent, I don’t want to see my characters go through rough times. I want to make sure they have hope and remember that every day is beautiful and even grumpy times are reminders of the goodness of better days.
Today, I realized that my grieving for the bumpy seas ahead for my characters had more than a little to do with a good friend of mine in real life. As I watch the train wreck coming in fiction, I have some power, my fingers can change everything (though not without consequences in terms of inspiration to write), but in real life with a friend going through equally rough seas, I can do almost nothing.
I’ve tried all the things that a person can do. I’ve reached out. I’ve shared my stories of darkness and how I worked through them. I’ve done what I could. But in real life, we simply don’t have that much power when people choose darkness. My characters sometimes choose darkness and it hurts, but I can see when they will have that spark of awareness and lean back toward the light. For my friend, I can’t see that. I hope, but I have no special window that lets me see that my friend will go a different way, fight harder against the demons, and come out on the other side grateful and hopeful.
Maybe one day, my friend will remember that his friends and family are out here too. And while he’s focused on his own pain and his own worries, there are people he loves who could use his help and his attention. Other people might need him, but right now his view is limited.
I’ve been there, in a different way, and I wonder why people and characters choose darkness. Why is it so hard to see that we have a thousand choices every day to view the world and our particular challenges in a positive light? Why is it so hard to remember to look beyond ourselves when the only thing we see inside is ugliness? We’re not ugly, we’re beautiful, but the times when our souls feel like cesspools are the times to look somewhere else. To stay busy. To make this minute positive. To not think about the end of the day or the week, the month or the year. Just to make this one minute beautiful, and if not beautiful, then at least bearable.
Anything positive has to be better than giving in, running away, hiding from pain, or searching for permanent endings to temporary problems.
My characters will find their way. They’ll find hope. I hope my friend does too.