For Nanowrimo, I am writing about a woman who has no inner critic. She was raised by a doting Grandmother who raised her to believe she could do no wrong, that everything she said and did was wonderful. She becomes a high achiever, a famous television presenter and celebrity scientist, but realises after her widely-respected Grannie dies, that she isn’t as perfect or well-liked as she thought.
When I started writing Dr. Shelagh Barton she was quite one-dimensional. I did this when writing Paula, my ‘villain’ in Hotel Deja Vu. Both characters seemed to cop the brunt of my dislike for those who seem to lack an inner critic or those who can simply ignore it. But after a while, the characters have become more rounded and I’ve managed to find their softer side. This happened naturally once I found out what it was that damaged them so badly.
I say ‘once I found out’ because when I write, the characters seem to just emerge one character trait at a time. Each event or circumstance reveals them a little more and I often get a little surprise and think ‘Oh, I didn’t know she was going to do that!
My Inner Nurturer needed resuscitating because it had been bludgeoned almost to death by my Inner Critic. I see this process of writing a hated character then allowing her to ‘redeem’ herself to me as something that will help my critic come to peace with elements of my own personality that could use a bit of love.
Readers often ask writers if their work is autobiographical and I think all of our art is to some extent, even down to the kind of books, movies or art we’re attracted to as a consumer. It must speak to something in our soul or we simply wouldn’t be interested. (This goes back to the Id List I wrote about recently.)