Hello, hello! Happy morning, noon, evening, whatever time it is. By the time I check back on this article, I'll be moved into my new college apartment for senior year, ready to budget my money once more and face a last round of classes while also enjoying my little college town and applying for grad school in another country. So the title of this post is oddly apt.
"I suppose I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people, really." -- Tennessee Williams
To make our stories interesting our characters often have some kind of psychological, spiritual or physical wounds. The process of healing them because the character’s arc, the meat in our stories. What mental, physical or spiritual wounds or scars have you used in your stories?
That is a darn good question...which is probably going to make me seem like a horrible person. Basically, it's really difficult to write a story without these alleged "wounds" because if a character is perfectly content in their life then it's terribly hard to get them to go on a quest to destroy the One Ring to Rule them All, or fight a really horrifying wizard guy, or what have you.
And, as it happens, I have examples for Mental, Physical, and Spiritual wounds or scars for my books (I'm going to end up apologizing to my characters, aren't I?)
First off, Mental wounds: the first character I think off right off the bat is Celeste, the wunderkind of the only trilogy I've written so far (and it took about five/sixish thrilling years of angst, excitement, woe, tears, and self-doubt). Celeste stars as one half of the main character partnership in Serpents and Flame: the daughter of Euryale the Wanderer and a sailor, she is half-Gorgon (how well do you know your Greek mythology? Think Medusa.) with snakes for hair, brass fingernails, scales, and small tusks. On top of that, her mother and aunt kept her on a remote island and didn't exactly endow her with a great worldview. I really think she's the most pessimistic character I've ever written--she has good reason, but it was a real switch-up for me to have to keep viewing things from her eyes because, on her opposite, I introduced Leandro Alexiou, who was dealt (mostly)--
Physical wounds: --which does not sound nice. I'm sorry (!). Andro has a fair share of mental pricks as well, including his mother's death and the whole little debacle with his sister's ensuing depression/madness drawing the god of madness to her. These culminate into physical wounds when Andro acts on an instinct and ends up with a gathering of pretty awful scars. These, in addition to how surrounding characters react to to them, fuel Andro to proceed on the path he chooses in the book. The scars are actually kind of a really important thing, and I can't give all the secrets away here. ;)
Physical wounds also play back into mental: in Monet Evanesce (an art forger/heist story due to be published next year), the protagonist Apollo Roszak only does what he does because of a HUGE injustice done to his great-great-grandfather, Jos. It's all mental (it happened, what, over a good century ago), but it was pretty awful, especially since repercussions waver all the way to present-day.
Lastly, let's talk Spiritual wounds: which I have a fantastic example of, because I just edited a novel that deals with this! Shubiao's Girls is finally getting published (*Viking scream*) and it's only just done it's first round of edits, but I'm excruciatingly pleased. Cara, the MC, always wakes up feeling as though she hasn't slept (I actually started this idea after waking up super groggy one morning near Halloween-time). This is because Shubiao, a mouse spirit, has been stealing her breath almost every night in order to take human form. Why? Because of a curse put on her family by a twentieth-century silk merchant, of course. Cue the assistance of Cara's semi-religious best friend Hosey, with whom Cara delves into world mythologies when Shubiao makes a deal with a biblical demon, wherein a Fallen angel joins the mix and everyone's literal/tangible soul is at stake.
Are you a writer? What kind of, uh, wounds do your characters sport, and why? If you're just here for a read-along, click a few (or all. All.) links below and see what these other authors inflict on their poor wee characters:
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/the-wounded-healer
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com