Accepting Characters

I started writing Duchess of Dark Mercies as Merciful Darkness on a blog as a way to just free write without really thinking about what I was doing. before that point I had written many stories and started many novels but none of those novels gripped me like Merciful Darkness had. The characters in this series were real to me. I could see them and I wanted to know more about them. I wanted to get to know them but while I was interested in them I still had designs of writing a story a certain way.

I didn’t want to accept that the characters I imagined weren’t the characters that needed this story. This story was started December 2010. I’ve spent four years developing this story. Granted I would write in spurts and I would go weeks without thinking much about Merciful Darkness. I knew I wanted to write a story and I knew that Lila would be the main character but life got in the way.

It got to the point where the story became stale and I had no desire to finish it. Well, maybe I got tired of being stuck in the same rut. During the last few weeks a lot has changed. Merciful Darkness changed to Duchess of Dark Mercies and Lila became Laila. These might seem like small changes but they have set waves in my thought process. Everything makes more sense. The story that is developing in my mind is something I never expected nor thought I would be able to write it. However, the story that is forming is something I am extremely excited to write. I think it is going to be a great read.

I need to keep to the path. I have spent so much time avoiding this. I have been playing it safe as a writer. The characters I’ve created were shallow and had limited depth to them. They still need work but a character I didn’t want to recognize finally got a voice. She is an integral part of the story and I’ve avoided recognizing her because she doesn’t fit neatly into the plot line. Having her in the plot makes a lot more sense. Her creation has answered multiple questions that I was having a hard time resolving.

As a writer I’ve struggled with going deep enough into my imagination. I like to play it safe. These days though, I’m learning to take chance and to branch out and to recognize that imperfections aren’t always bad. In fact the whole focus on Dark Mercies should be a clue that sometimes a person’s darkest times provide mercies that staying in the light doesn’t offer.

The story has an end and a beginning. It needs the middle to get a little more polished. I keep saying that and then something else is revealed to me. My time line for this book is that it will be published this spring. I would love an April release but I have a lot I need to do before that point.

I need to entice an agent to sign me and I need to write a book that will be a great manuscript that has publishers drooling over it. I want to write gritty commercial fiction that a large reader base wants to read. I have other stories that I’ve written that I know will be nothing more than “therapy” for me but this series is something I know will be successful. I know that this series will be a best seller.

I know that the thing I need to work on is my commitment to focusing on something and seeing it to completion. That is what I struggle with the most- the focus needed to complete projects. I am a dreamer by nature and so it is easy for me to dream but hard for me to focus on making those dreams realities. I guess I should accept the fact that I have to take into account my narcolepsy and ADD. Physically I am healthy but mentally my mind is all over the place. I think if my outside reflected my mental health I would look like my horse Lexy



I know I said I wouldn’t write about my horses much but part of why my head’s a mess is that I’m worried about my horses. I am paralyzed by all the things I have to decide. From the outside looking in it looks bad. I’ve had to make a lot of changes lately and I think the last of my willpower was used up making those decisions.

Writers often have to balance the inner and outer selves and most of the time the ability to do that is difficult. I haven’t been doing much physical lately but I’m exhausted mentally. I’ve got through a mental war and I’m not sure if I am going to survive. The thing that writers need to do when they feel this way is take those feelings and use them to describe their characters. Maybe a writer is exhausted because they’ve been fighting against what their character needs. Sometimes a writer should throw away convention and just write. Forget to make likable characters and forget about writing according to grammatical rules. Instead write the way your characters need you to write.

You’ll find they’ll thank you for listening to them.


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