As I’m approaching the scary precipice all first-time self-publishers do when it’s time to commit to the dream and make the “jump” that’s required in making my first novel a reality, I’ve noticed permanent changes in my own thinking that have also further tailored my reading taste. I didn’t realize how deep these changes ran until I had breakfast with a fellow author who is a veteran when it comes to self-publishing. It started when he asked me about my lead female character.
I mentioned that my female lead character is basically as strong as it gets because she’s not merely human. As I delved into the details, he mentioned that I should be careful that I don’t write the extreme of the “damsel in distress” character and sculpt my character into a “fixer”. We have all met fixers. They’re the person that doesn’t accept you as you are and must help you be “better” so they can then open themselves up to the possibility of taking you seriously, whether as a friend, colleague, or dating prospect. I shared with my friend that she doesn’t fix. She treats when asked (because she’s a surgeon), and gives room for people’s free will. Then something odd happened: In that moment, I became proud of the character. Yeah, I wrote her, but in that moment it was as if I acknowledged her as a separate entity with her own life force. She has the intelligence to know when to step in to help and when to stand aside and allow others to simply be themselves.
This nostalgic moment brought forth a sense of hope for what is to unfold for her in this book series. Yes, I know what’s going to happen to her in the next book. They’re not easy situations and for her to have the intelligence of understanding when to intervene as well as understanding the pointlessness behind complaining, I think, sets her up for an intense story that gets to the point versus wallowing in petty drama. The drama she endures consists of true obstacles versus ‘problems that aren’t real problems’. She understands what’s important.
So before I let my mind run away with the storyline of the second book, I took a moment to honor this character. I wouldn’t have thought to do so without the original comments from my friend. I’m finding it was the way for one writer to show another that it was time to stop and smell the roses.