Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Words You Hate to Use but...

Currently I'm working on the next three installments of the Night Wars series, namely Ian, Simon and Jack's books, which will make up the next "trilogy" in the loosest sense. Ian's book delves into his start with the Chicago Special Police or Hellfire Boys, as well as the leprechaun situation and perhaps another story. It'll be a multi-story book. Sort of an anthology I suppose.

Simon's book will take place in his past and present, picking up about six months after the events of The Hellfire Legacy. It's his book that has me using words I hate. See, I'm introducing Simon's father, Ben Murphy, who is a homophobic asshole and... well there are a lot of words I don't use. Period. I have my line in the sand I do not cross it.

Except Ben Murphy doesn't have my line in the sand, and from both a character and impact perspective I have to use words I would never use myself.

With Jack's book, we have another character I'm not overly keen on. Xenophobic and a bit misogynistic, and again an older man. You'll meet Nico Proud, a Rom who holds an important place in Jack's past and his future.

Both of these men are hard for me to write with conviction, because neither one is really what I would call a stand up citizen. Nico is a product of his culture, and eventually he's going to start to come around, but Ben is pretty damn irredeemable. I don't typically have antagonists without redeeming qualities, but Ben Murphy is just... ugh. I don't like him. I don't want other people to like him. So for once, I haven't really delved into his history.

Though I'm sure his own upbringing was no picnic either, and that he has all sorts of backstory to explain his person I just--

We all have those moments when writing where we have to make a choice. We can underrepresent the character because of our own beliefs or we can show them for what they really are.

I've chosen to show these men as they are, with no sugarcoating and no attempts to curtail. I want to be honest when I tell a story, and sometimes that means you have to break a few rules you've set for yourself and use words you hate to use.

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