Five days. That’s how long it took to finish two projects spurred by the 3am Whatifs. There was revision involved, and formatting, and the end result is just a few more hours of waiting before the links go live. *sigh* It’s been a while since an experiment took me over so thoroughly, which is another way, I suspect, of saying “I LEARNED A LOT.”
It wasn’t painful, except to my pride, and that’s an injury I suspect I did well to suffer. Writing characters of monstrous arrogance can bleed into one’s own self-image, and the book I was distracting myself from holds a character of rather breathtaking self-regard. Most of it is warranted, sure, but still.
I’ve grown a little more charitable towards my characters. This doesn’t extend to saving them pain–it can’t, and remain honest–but I find myself understanding more. I still loathe Japhrimel, want to slap Danny, am still frantically afraid of Perry, wish Jill could just relax for a moment and Robin could allow someone to care for her, and let’s not even talk about my feelings on Christophe and Graves. But I feel a little more compassion than I used to for the situations they find themselves in, especially Japh. It doesn’t mean I excuse, that’s not the job of compassion.
Writing is an extended bath in empathy, or at least, it should be. Sinking into someone else so thoroughly, even a villain, is good practice. I spent my young years hyperaware of the emotional state of anyone around, trying to predict when the explosions would occur. That sensitivity, traumatizing in its own right, also gave me a set of picks to burrow into characters with.
Calm Therapist used to tell me those skills were normal, but not to the extent I’d had to use them, and they were hair-trigger instead of having a decent amount of pull. I didn’t believe her, not really. My mistake.
The trick, really, is harnessing those wild skills. Putting them in the traces so they pull for you, instead of running around mucking up your life. I’m finally feeling like I might conceivably have some sort of handle on the goddamn things. I’m sure the feeling won’t last, but I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here.
Over and out.