Grown-ups and Monsters

“What do you think Ursula Monkton is scared of?”

“Dunno. Why do you think she’s scared of anything? She’s a grown-up, isn’t she? Grown-ups and monsters aren’t scared of things.”

“Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters. And as for grown-ups . . .” She stopped talking, rubbed her freckled nose with a finger. Then, “I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” She thought for a moment. Then she smiled. “Except for Granny, of course.” (The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman)

Boggarting your character

Remember meeting boggarts way back in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? A creature that shapes itself into whatever you fear the most. How terrifying is that?

But what a brilliant creation! Forcing the characters to face their fears and showing their reactions not only developed the characters better, it humanized them, brought them a little closer to our hearts. Fear is a universal emotion, but everyone deals with it differently. Therefore, fear is a great way to make your character more relatable, but also to give your character more distinct traits.

So for this week’s challenge, ponder:

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Put your character up against what he/she fears most. What is it? How does your character respond? What does fear feel like to your character?

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Happy writing!

No Gold Coating

Tonight, as I was working away at my edits, it hit me hard:

When my book gets published, it’ll just be my words, naked on the page.

I don’t know what else I expected. I guess I figured that after it went through the publishing process, there would be some sort of magical gold coating on the words to make them shine brighter than normal words. Something that would set them apart from the words I used when it was just a manuscript, instead of a published book.

But there won’t be. It’ll be all the same words. All in plain black ink. Or plain black pixels, depending on your choice of reading medium.

It’s a little bit terrifying. It makes me look at my manuscript differently. It makes me understand why authors are never quite satisfied with their books, even if the rest of the world loves them. It makes me feel like I’m going to expose my guts to mob armed with pitchforks and torches.

All I can hope is that the mob sees a glint of gold hidden away inside all those plain black letters.