I am an angry man.
Please don’t read that as boastful, or prideful. It’s merely a statement of fact. It is, in fact, something I am not particularly proud of. I have let my past experiences interfere with my own personal growth, and that has, more than once, negatively affected my relationship with my wife and children.
I struggle on a regular basis to keep my anger under control and to examine what about a situation makes me angry. My wife’s support, the various therapists I’ve had over the years, and my writing all contribute to the small steps forward I make.
I have read that the first thousand or so pages of writing tends to be autobiographical whether you mean it to be or not. In my case, I think it was a lot more than the first thousand.
That being said, I see my anger and my past when I create my characters. Some of the men reflect the man I want to be: kind and caring, considerate and emotional.
Others reflect the man who I was for so long: furious and full of hate.
Being able to see my own faults, to understand them and to acknowledge the role they’ve played in my life, helps me as a writer. I reveal traits and memories of a character that helps the reader understand why the protagonist – or antagonist – commits a certain act.
I believe that the writing of my own experiences, albeit through a fictional character, lends a degree of believability to the characters. And, more importantly (as my wife has helped me to understand) that by broaching important issues for the character, I can give both readers and characters something substantive to consider.
My characters are not moralistic, dashing heroes.
And that’s because I am not a moralistic dashing hero.
I don’t know many of them out there, and I don’t think I would want to know them if I found them.
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