Driving Forces

I learn more about my characters by letting them hang out in my real life, even if it’s nothing like their own world.

Dalvin, for instance, likes to blare pop rock music and take the wheel when we’re in the car. She’s a surprisingly competent driver, for a girl from a world in which mills and magic are the height of technological advancement.

When I ask her why she likes it so much, she answers, “It’s a lot like battle, isn’t it? One wrong move and you’re dead or injured, and there’s nothing for it but to let your body outpace your mind and do what you’ve taught it to do. It’s very relaxing.”


Relaxing? To think that you’re one wrong move away from injury or death? I certainly don’t want to think of driving in that light… How on earth do you find your looming mortality relaxing?

Rarely interested in self-reflection, she only shrugs. “Everything’s too immediate to be fussed with thinking about it. I don’t like thinking.”

Huh. That’s an odd thing to say. Why don’t you like thinking?

She gives me a dirty look. “I don’t know,” she says slowly. “Do you want me to think about it?”

Ah. Looks like I’ve used up her introspection for the day.


Check out Grace the Mace

In which Dalvin is forced not only to fight for her life… but to think about it.

That sneaky, sneaky truth…

It’s publicly broadcasted introspection time! Hip-hip, huzzah! (It’s a writer thing. At least, I think it’s a writer thing. Other Writers, you do this soul-searching-and-exposition thing too, right? Please say yes. Anyway.)

I’ve recently come to realize that if I reveal an emotion I am capable of concealing, especially if the feeling is negative, I feel manipulative. I even feel that way with happiness or thankfulness or other such things, at times.

So if I show a fraction of my sorrow/angst/pain/exhaustion, when I KNOW I could hide it with a stiffer effort, I feel as though I’m acting it on purpose to play on people’s empathy, like a sneaky douche. In other words, I feel like I’m being my main character, Syawn.

There’s one major difference, fortunately—very major. When Sy is acting, it’s exactly that: an act. He conjures the emotions for the express purpose of displaying them to manipulate people to his nefarious ends.
That’s different from revealing a little of your truth, even if concealing is your natural state.

For instance, I recently let myself wince in front of my sensei, when I knew I could stop myself. It only showed about a half of my pain at that moment, but I still felt like I was manipulating him into going easier on me.

Now, to be clear, I reveal these fragments rather regularly, based on the idea that it would be a bad idea to conceal my emotional/physical pain too much, that going against my natural grain is the wise thing to do in this case.
But I still feel a little guilty about it. Like my bad feelings are things I should be working out and coming to terms with in private on my own time, not something the people in my life ought to be burdened with. Better to step quietly into the bathroom to bite my lip and run warm water over it. Better to step quietly into the bedroom to cry and talk myself through it. Except that it’s not.

I don’t do this. I know better. I talk to people about my drama. I ask Mom for a homeopathic when something hurts. Usually. But it goes against my bent, and sometimes, it feels unfair to people.

Why, my natural bent is so reserved in display that, even though I’m a teen-aged poet, I only wrote two angsty poems about an unrequited crush (Some of my friends tell me it’s love. Whatever my thoughts may be, I prefer to call it a crush. See what I mean?), and both poems were very restrained and actually wryly perky in nature.

Yes, even my little-teen-girl-heartache poetry is largely upbeat.

No, I don’t know why.

No, I’m not posting them here! What if he found them? I’d feel like a dreadfully manipulative sneaky douche…