I was recently conversing with a fellow content creator and she raised a writing concern that I have battled with for a long time. My battle is one between my spiritual walk, my family and friends, and how to write for the "not so good" characters that are screaming to get out of my head.
I am not even sure I helped to guide her. My response to her was more of me yelling at the very same annoying voices I've heard in my head over the last 15 years of my creative career. How can I create the characters I want to create and not offend Christ or my spiritual family and friends? I fear God, I do...and recently I realized I feared what my friends and family thought just as much as I did God; probably more...unfortunately. I've only recently recognized part of my creative writing problem as people bondage.
For years I've been stuck in this place of not being able to tell my truth without thinking of what the people around me would think or say; how they might shame me for being true to my authentic voice. Am I the only one thinking this? Am I the only one bound by these chains while writing? Will I go to hell for unapologetically writing whats on my mind and in my heart? Obviously, I'm not alone here! That's probably why I went on a rampage when I responded to her question. Part of me was happy to know someone shared in my struggle, and part of me ready to lead the troops in fighting back against the vocal army. "No more!!!" (As we rush into the crowd slaying the many voices on horses.) During my rampage, the most profound answer I've ever been able to come up with came to me.
"You have to be true to the voice of the character."
To those who struggle with this like we do, I say this:
You have to be true to the voice of your character. It's the only way people can connect to your work. Leave yourself out of the writing altogether. It's not about you. Your character's are speaking, living, and breathing; it's their personal journey. There is no way to connect to the broader world if we don't write from the characters point of view. We have to allow the characters we write to live their lives 3 dimensionally like regular people in the real world live; like you and I live. At the end of the day, we are ALL flawed. We were born this way. If you create human beings that are unflawed, no one in the world could relate to them. It's still hard for me to imagine Jesus' perfect life. I've had such a screwed up life, (I wanted to say something else, but my people bondage wouldn't allow me to), but my life certainly wasn't a crystal stair, and I've even had to put sometime on God's calendar to chat about the "why". That the only thing at times that connect me personally to Jesus is all the crap he had to endure from the people who hated him and all the things he's endured in his life on earth. In that sense, I get Him! When you think of it, the only way to write the bible and to bring people closer to Christ was to write authentic people with authentic struggles. Biblical people weren't all saintly; they were sluts, killers, liars, thieves, scared, and a whole bunch of other adjectives.
What Do You Do With Your Deeply Flawed Characters?
Well, He's given me my answer, I have to write stories authentically from my point of view so the stories can change the lives of others. I have stories to tell that are for the greater good of others. So I have to write them truthfully; unapologetically, not for the perfectly imperfect people who will turn up their noses at my deeply flawed f*^&ed up characters that exist in my head, but for the others who have had not so good lives, and have done not so good things....those people who are a lot like me.
And so I write...
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