I want to start this series on my blog because not only do I want to keep you updated on how my second book is coming along, but I also want to share what I’m learning as I grow as an author.
Even though I self-published a book almost a year ago, I still feel like an apprentice. My first book may have an 3.36 rating on Goodreads (meaning 82% of those who rated it liked it), but I still feel like I know so little about telling a story. Maybe this my self-doubt as a writer coming in, which makes sense because I can demand far too much from myself.
As I write the sequel to The Dark Proposal, I am putting so much pressure on myself to make it better than it’s predecessor, and to improve on where I didn’t do so well the first time around. Unfortunately, I am trying too hard and I’m driving myself nuts along the way.
But I kind of had an epiphany last week when I read a blog by another author who talked about letting your characters do their thing. Reading that part made me realize that I was holding onto my characters – especially the main one – so tightly that they almost couldn’t breathe. As a result, they couldn’t develop well.
You have to let your characters be, that’s what I’m learning. Yeah, you may want them to do something or be a certain way, but you cannot force them. They may be fictitious people who only exist in your mind, but they do have their own lives. It’s about fear, and you have to let that fear go. Then your character may just surprise you.
So take it from me and don’t make yourself as upset as I have been getting: let your characters go. Let them breathe, let them fly. They will be OK and they will do well. And they will help you tell a great story too.