The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same. Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation. Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all. Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!
Content Warning: Discussions of rape and assault as it pertains to narratives.
What would be a challenge for you to write?
Today’s question is for my fellow writers. It’s been a while since I posted a query directed specifically at them 🙂
I attempt to challenge myself with every story. The Serpent’s Tale and Northern Lights were personally difficult due to the underlying subject matter and foundation of the tales, and my WIP The Broken Rose is a challenge due to heavy themes centering around rape and assault. My next planned project will be difficult for the same, but this isn’t a “challenge” to write in terms of getting the words out. I have a great deal to say about deceased/missing mothers and rape (though thankfully I myself have never experienced the latter).
The challenge I speak of is of another type. It’s more what would you find difficult to germinate and/or conceive. For me I would find it incredibly hard to write about people who aren’t beautiful. Yes…I know how shallow this sounds lol, but I’ve always been a lover of beauty, and this is heavily reflected in my characters. They’re always gloriously stunning though this doesn’t save them from despair nor make their heartbreaking decisions any easier.
“Beauty does not bring back the dead, nor does it heal a broken heart.”
-The Serpent’s Tale
I would also find it very difficult not to write about characters with emotional/mental/psychological damage and/or PTSD. Since I’m learning more about the latter, it’s becoming clearer to me that everyone I write about has it, and I exhibit many of the symptoms of it as well. While I don’t have a specific event, the descriptions of the condition hit me very hard. It would be extremely challenging for me to craft a character who was not damaged in some way. I really do love the sorrowful incongruence of a lovely face paired with a grieving heart. Making beautiful characters broken and flawed may be cliched, but it helps ground the otherworldly loveliness into something most of us can understand. It makes characters who are more than human into people, because pain makes us all kin.
Writing a main character I didn’t personally like would also be difficult. While I wasn’t overly fond of Maya, my main female character in Serpent at the beginning, I understood why she was acting the way she was, and she eventually grew into a person I absolutely adore. It would incredibly difficult for me to write a character I couldn’t stand and/or who was universally detestable. I have to give GRRM enormous credit for doing so in quite a few of his stories such as Portraits of His Children, and several POVs in Song.. I have written chapters from the viewpoint of the deplorable, and I absolutely hate it.
What kind of characters/stories would you find it a challenge to write? Have you written such anyway? If so how did you overcome the difficulty? Have you ever written an MC that you personally hate?
I look forward to your answers in the comments!