I've been doing some major edits on my first manuscript after hiring a developmental editor. For the last month or so, I've really been struggling because the editor wanted me to change a character who was coming across as a total villain. She wanted me to make this change for many reasons, including raising the stakes for the romance between my hero and heroine. The villain character was inspired by two people from my past who were both really awful and I just couldn't wrap my head around softening this character.
But then I signed up for a 6 week class on romance writing and during last week's zoom meeting, the instructor said something that finally hit home. She was reading our story descriptions and when she got to mine (which is for a different book), she talked about how books can serve as wish fulfillment for readers.
It got me thinking about how I could take the editor's critiques into account without making the character into something he wasn't. What I came up with is to ask myself, if either of these people ever decided to apologize for the things they did, what would I want them to say? How would I want that conversation to go? And a scene popped into my head.
Fulfilling a wish has given me the permission I needed to not only write the character in a way that will be more palatable to readers, but also to forgive, both the two people and myself. There are tons of quotes and memes about forgiving someone for an apology that will likely never occur, and in some ways, that's what this scene is for me. I knew writing was cathartic, but I guess I never thought it would work out quite like this for me.
I'm really happy with where the story has gone now, and I think it's all the better for it. It's also perfect timing as tomorrow is my birthday and I think there's something to be said about starting the year off with less bitterness and more hope.
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Book reviews, random thoughts, and writing samples from an aspiring author.