Only through fiction can we think about the unthinkable, and perhaps obtain some sort of closure. – Stephen King, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
I struggled with what I should write about in this week’s ‘diary entry’. Aside from having a highly productive writing week and purchasing my book’s cover, nothing monumental has happened in my reading or writing life…
Although, maybe that’s not true. Because the more I brainstorm, outline and write this book, the more I fall for Characters A and B, to the point where I actually get choked up writing about/thinking about certain scenes.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. My beloved Character-A? Parts of his life are very loosely based on my own. Because dramatic fiction demands it, I’ve dialed the conflict, tension and emotion WAY up on his experiences, but much of the frame work is based on my own personal experiences. So if you see me on social media struggling with feeling everything he has to go through, that’s because in varying degrees, I’ve actually been where he is, if not physically, then certainly mentally and/or emotionally. He’s helped me unearth many of my own hangups and insecurities because in fiction, you’re finally free to tell your truth, if that makes any sense.
Another secret. Character-B? He’s not based on any one person. I’ve given him traits from several people I admire, along with little things that absolutely get under my skin. He’s exactly the kind of person who would irritate and endear me, likely in equal measures. And that’s exactly what he does for Character-A. They’re two very different men who, as Sylvester Stallone so eloquently put it in Rocky, “fill gaps” for each other.
Figuratively. Get your mind out of the gutter. I mean, literally too, eventually, but that’s beside the point.
I used to think Character-B was my hope for the future. I thought that I wanted to find someone like him and live out my own love story. I have two new thoughts on this notion.
- It’s completely unfair. Character-B, though a good man if I do say so myself, is still flawed. He still manages to hurt Character-A sometimes. Not in intentional or abusive ways, but in the way that all the people we love hurt us sometimes. He’s only human. And I can’t expect him, nor can I write him, to be this prince who never makes mistakes. But I’m embarrassed to say that when I began writing this story over a year ago, that’s exactly how I was writing him. He said all the right things. He never did anything that hurt or upset Character-A and if by some accident he did, he had the perfect explanation for why. Yeah, no, that’s not the way life works.
- He represents more than just some dream of romantic fulfillment. Because of his friendship and eventual relationship with Character-B, Character-A grows as a person. Character-A has to step out of his comfort zone. He has to develop and utilize coping mechanisms for when life is less than perfect. He has to learn to accept not only what he’s been through, but the person he is because of what he’s been through. I can’t give all of the credit to Character-B for Character-A’s growth, but I can tell you he was definitely the catalyst in many instances.
My point is that if Character-A is my avatar, maybe Character-B represents the writing of this book and the growth it is inspiring in me. I’m beginning to realize that this book – and the courage to write it – may never have existed if I hadn’t been so hurt and depressed and even horrified by some of the things I’ve experienced. I cannot tell you how far I have come as a person that I am finally able to admit and accept that. I couldn’t have done it a year ago. I couldn’t have done it 6-8 months ago.
This story has morphed and changed drastically since I began writing it. It was originally going to be a dramatic but ultimately very ‘fluffy’ fan fiction that would never see the light of day, aside from my fan fiction site accounts. But then, something in my mind clicked. There was a reason Character-A’s story, even back then, resonated with me so much. And I saw what could be, if I was brave enough to attempt it. I saw that I could create a story much more powerful than the typical m/m romance (or self-indulgent fan fiction), simply by lending it credence from some of my own personal experiences.
So, here I am. And hopefully, here you are. And the truth, as best as I can tell it, is being born as we speak.
Er, write, read, whatever. You catch my drift.