Not wanting all my characters to ‘sound’ like each other is always a challenge worth accepting. And, because I also do not want the entire cast of my stories coming across as behavioral clones of me, I make the effort to steer my eyes away from all the things I’ve seen a million times and angle my ears away from sounds and words I hear every day, then immerse myself with the world that’s around me. To see what my co-inhabitants on this planet are doing. To hear what they are saying. To experience their celebrations and their remorse. To feel their adrenaline and their apprehension. To witness them tightly guard their emotions, or to see them let those emotions run loose without a leash. To discover and (maybe) understand not just how they tick, but why they tick the way they do.
Yes, I am opening up myself to a lot of horrible actions and attitudes. I’m not surprised when my first conclusion when I do this is that people suck. No wonder I like dogs.
But, of course, I’m not writing animal stories.
So, back to observing my fellow Humans I go. Horrible actions and attitudes included.
When the shock and disgust finally subside, I come to realize why certain stories are such incredible experiences, and, ultimately, perfect entertainment escapes: the people performing within those stories are as varied as what I see before my redirected eyes, opening themselves up to scenarios I’ve never experienced in my life, including some of the same horrible actions and attitudes I just saw before my redirected eyes.
This world would be a nicer place to live if certain people were never be allowed to cross paths. The combinations—the mixtures—are dangerous. And sometimes deadly. We see proof of that on our news feeds and even during our daily lives all the time. Yet, within the confines of a fictional story, we want as many incompatible and combustible combinations as we can get our hands on.
This is why I do what I do.
After depicting some of these combinations on the pages of my stories, I find myself wanting to take a step back so I can rebalance myself. Understandable. And probably the reason I’ve never gotten irreparably disturbed by what I write. In fact, I’m proud to say I’ve never committed any of the horrid acts my characters perpetrate. All I ask is that you don’t judge or assume if you ever come across my browser history.