and i’m so sad
like a good book
i can’t put this day back
— Tori Amos

There’s debate about whether an author should create a character in their own likeness. Certainly, there are reasons why it can be a no-no–or why it should at least be handled carefully. And even though I am aware of those reasons, I walked right into that trap recently. Generally speaking I can shake off critique okay, but recently I put a great deal of myself into a character and then took it way too hard when a person whose opinion I treasure told me how annoying he was.

WAY too hard.

I know I shouldn’t have, but…tricky word, that “should.” And it’s one of the pitfalls of using too many of your own attributes in your writing. We writers aren’t necessarily all that interesting. 😉

The realization hit me midway through plotting my next book, a contemporary novel entitled Drowning. One of the heroes suffers from depression–something I’ve been struggling with lately–and it certainly gave me pause. And I don’t know if this will make me change course yet or not. Amor Prohibido featured a hero with a history of abuse which I also have some experience with, and I’ve gotten great feedback about that book. That said, my abusive relationships are a decade-plus in the past, so maybe perspective is the key.


Anyway, I’ve gotten a ton of questions about what I’m working on next–thank you SO much for asking everyone. 🙂 So the short answer is, I’m not entirely sure. I’m on the fence about Drowning–whether I should shelve it until I feel more “ready” or plow ahead and see what comes of it. I *know* I want my next thing to be a contemporary novel. I’ve gotten a lot of AWESOME feedback about the free short story Yes, Sir that I wrote for GayRomLit 2011. I may try taking Nate and Gray out of the dream world and into the real world to see how their relationship progresses. Or maybe it’ll be something else entirely…we’ll see what the new year brings, I suppose. 🙂

NEXT THOUGH! I just turned in my Valentine novella, Immortal Valentine, to Amber Allure!! It’s a sexy little boy-meets-vampire story about a one-night stand that turns into forever, and I’ll be editing that through the holidays. Keep an eye out for that just before Valentine’s day.

2 thoughts on “Drowning

  1. Hon, I’d like to offer a few words of encouragement here. First off, the best place to write from is your heart. If you’ve been through struggles, why not use those struggles to give your character challenges? You’ve been there, you’ve gotten through them. So, you ease up a little on placing ‘too’ much of yourself into the character, not a problem, but to draw from your own struggles to bring your characters to life is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be ‘real’ and the reader will wonder just where you got your inspiration from. A story is not a story unless the characters struggle and come through on the other side. And think how good you’ll feel in purging that crap from your system by bringing your hero’s journey (and yours) to a successful goal. And, who is to say your exact struggle needs to be your character’s? It doesn’t have to be, but if you’ve got the ‘feeling’ of the struggle there…then use it. I’ve been through cancer these last two years. In my determination to fight, I understand more about will to live. I’m beating cancer as a result. Sweetie, life is struggle…to come out on top is the meaning of life, it’s to tap into life itself and learn and grow…and is that not what character’s in stories are supposed to do? Use your struggles as touchstones for your plot lines, camouflage it…but don’t shove it back. You’ll get that balance. It will be good. Be aware of just how much of your struggle to put into your character, be true to your heart…and you cannot lose.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, I really appreciate it. 🙂 And I’m wishing you continued health and success in your journey. I’m *so* glad to hear you’re winning the battle against cancer! Sending lots of hugs and good thoughts your way.

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