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What character have you created that you despise/hate the most?
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I mean, the Nazis in OP-DEC go without saying. Am I right? That’s an easy one. So I’ll sidestep past giving them any further attention and go to others.
Beyond that, there is a lineup of notable individuals. Mrs. Conrad comes to mind, next to Carroll Healey. There’s Morgentus and the bevy of danava, as well. They all range in pretty much the same area for me, but I can’t say that I despise them.
When I was having the dreams about Morgentus I felt the worst fear of my life. However, by the time I wrote him into the series, he was neutered. Other dreams occurred by that time to make him a non-issue for me. This question really makes me pause to think.
As I go over the list of characters in my books, I’m even thinking of those I might have done more with or developed better. This looks at despising the character from the standpoint of it pulling down the quality of the work. Here, too, I believe that the word is just too strong. Maybe the most difficult to write, from the standpoint of the emotional conflict caused or the inability to find enough research to suffice.
Let’s go with the first. The hardest to write from the emotional standpoint was Dominic. Writing a malignant narcissist wasn’t the main issue for me. If you’re familiar with my work, you’ll recognize the type in both Mrs. Conrad (subtle) and Carroll Healey (overt). Writing about domestic violence and the costs to our lives when we become victims was also not the central issue. That’s something have been elbow deep in for a number of years in my day job.
Dominic was difficult because he embodied real life experiences. In order to write him, I had to go through the memories. Then, I had to carefully write out the actions. That can turn your stomach. Let me tell you! I’m an empathic person. Delving into the ways and actions of a malignant narcissistic abuser is mentally exhausting and quite traumatic, especially for those who have had to survive one. Toxic traits are called toxic for a reason. They sap your life away.
There is a good aspect to this, though. I found that I had become less tolerant of toxicity, could identify it quickly, and was no longer accepting these things in others. Boundaries were firmly in place. So, that was a big ask from myself! In a way, I had relinquish boundaries to successfully paint the picture.
Retraumatization isn’t a joke. I can assure anyone that it is a very real thing. While penning the books, which I did as a complete project together for continuity purposes, there were many breaks taken to come up for air and allow myself some healing time. Some of the scenes were like being back in it, I realized when I lifted my head. The exhaustion was marked.
To this day, I still can’t believe that I drafted all three books in the matter of a month, between semesters of graduate school. The story was well laid out in my mind, so it was mostly just writing it all down. That said, the retraumatization and energy required to write it was enormous.
Do I despise Dominic? I pity him. He’s a pathetic character and warning to those who may fall victim to toxic relationships. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends and those with which you become intimate. Know the signs. Maintain healthy boundaries and expectations. And, always know that this was not your fault. Abusers chose to abuse. That’s not on us. That’s on them. Seek safety. You’re worth that.
If you suspect that you or a friend are in a domestic abuse situation, please call the following number to begin the journey to safety: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)