Denial Is My Friend

Posted on 03/10/2011 by


So I’m working on this section of RON (book three) and I thought I had a handle on it. But I don’t know. It’s tricky. The tone has to be just right, and I know where it should end but there’s this middle part where… I’m flailing. Mostly because the characters themselves are flailing… Which is quite hard to write coherently. I mean, if they don’t know what they’re doing, how am I supposed to know? I’m suffering this strong urge to grab them and shake them and yell, Come on, you guys!

So I stomp around the house growling about them and the boys give me these looks. And okay, it’s possible I’m a little too close to my characters. I mean, I’ve always thought about them like they’re real people. But it’s not just me. I roleplayed this one character for a game with some friends several years ago and we still talk about him as though he’s someone we know but just haven’t seen in a while.

Me: G is a bit of an alcoholic and he’s in denial about it, whereas Zen —
Paul S: I always thought Zen was in denial.
Me: What? But he — you — Oh. Really?

But… Zen’s not an addict. He’s one of those unique people who’s unaffected. He just likes the drugs. And… has poor judgement about them sometimes. Cause he’s a bit obsessed with them. But that’s just… well they’re like his favourite thing. That’s not addiction that’s…


That unsettling moment when you realise you channel your own characters so well you’ve taken on their mindset…

Bear with paws over its eyes with the caption 'FACEPALM Even this bear thinks that's ridiculous'

But… maybe that’s just Zen? I mean, acting the part of a character is different to just writing about them. Right? It totally make sense that I think in his perspective. Delusions included.

And it’s not like I always think from their point of view. On Friday I made my wizard fight an ogre. Well, dragons. Well, a Guinness draig. Who is, okay, not really a dragon. Still. Not fun. (For him. Fun for me. See? Heartless. Uncaring.) Also I kidnapped someone. It was great! And I concussed somebody else! And then I laughed about it.

See reenactment:

  • Drama! Action! Adventure! Concussion!
  • Character falls down. Whimpers.
  • Giggle. (Pitiless author giggles.)
  • Try to feel bad about concussing character. (Not a sadist.)
  • Fail. (Okay, a bit.)
  • Giggle some more. (See? Totally not confusing line between fiction and reality. …unless I’m the bad guy.)
  • Resist urge to make character fall down again. (NOT a sadist.)
  • Make him throw up instead. (Um…)
  • Feel bad about that. (See?)
  • Tell him it wasn’t my fault.
  • Send him home with someone nice. (Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning.)Sesame Street's Ernie in classic facepalm pose


  • Realise I just apologised to a figment of my imagination…