Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shattered Reflections

A writer goes through many phases in discovering their own voice. I spent a lot of time writing ridiculous things as a child, full of bad ass female heroines and hints of my latent sexual desires. Looking back on those now, they make perfect sense to me, but even as a kid, I was self-conscious about the themes I recognized in my writing, wondering if anyone else ever noticed the fascination with punishment I had in almost every piece. I doubt it now, as few people read a lot of my stuff, but I recognize changes in the way I write. 

Sometimes I read the old stuff and lament that I don't write like that anymore. Sometimes I cringe the whole way through, wondering what the fuck I was thinking when I wrote some of those lines. I like to think my writing has improved as it has matured. I now recognize the flaws more readily, which enables me to fix them. 

I have also noticed a change in the characters I choose to focus on. As a child, I wrote of young women. These women, girls mostly, were powerful and important. They were confident and kick ass. They took shit from no one and saved the world. They were beautiful and shapely. They were athletic and infinitely resourceful. They were the things I wanted to be but had never been. 

As I have grown, I have begun to tend more toward writing what I am than what I wish I were. These confident, dominant women have evolved into the anxious, broken creatures I am or have been. I won't say they aren't powerful. Power is almost integral to the epic fantasy heroine, but I would say they are reluctantly so. They are afraid of that power or unaware that they possess it, so limited by their own anxieties or physical limitations. 

Naturally, these characters, even with their fantastical abilities are more grounded in reality. While less idealistic, these flawed characters are more relatable. They are easier to write, too. I have plenty of experience with irrational fear. I have very little with unshakable confidence. 

I have also drifted away from the warrior character. I have no talent for war. Not of the physical kind. You won't find me writing a lot of combat scenes. My antagonists are not beings one can fight with a blade or a bow. It is often the war of wills that draws me. The fight against temptation or control. 

These heroines are no longer the magnanimous paladins, ably fighting for the greater good. They have grown in moral complexity. Perhaps they save people, but often it is a side effect of saving themselves or those who are important to them. I suppose that is a reflection of my limited capacity for empathy. Sometimes I feel bad about that, but I can't fix those things about myself. 

My characters are shattered reflections of me. The anxious artist. The inhibited scholar. Pieces of a submissive personality struggling with the burdens of power or importance, not knowing how to be those things or embrace them. 

But, then, I suppose the broken hero is more inspiring than the invincible one. 

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked


  1. This is such a powerful piece of writing.
    I would always much rather read something with realistic characters. I can relate more to someone who is flawed or damaged in some way instead of the beautiful, young thing who gets whisked away by some rich handsome stud.
    Dawn (cherrytartblog)

    1. I can't say I don't have handsome studs, or at least what I consider handsome. Some are rich, some are not. It depends on the needs of the story. I still tend to write heroines that are of a common age with me. I just don't write youths or children anymore.

  2. Isn't it wonderful how we work some of ourselves into our writing? I love how we grow over the years, as writers.
    Reading this post, it sparked an idea for this year's NaNoWriMo. Thank you for the inspiration :)

    Rebel xox

    1. Always happy to be of service! I've never actually done NaNoWriMo. My future roommate does it though, and I should be moved out by the time that rolls around, so perhaps I'll manage it. I'll probably spend it working on my novel though.