On darker emotions: Part 3

I was writing about this back in November 2014 with some Greensky writing, and again last summer with some Dresden Files fanfic. This time, it’s my current WIP, No Man’s Land.

My main character, Ghost, is not nice. She’s a murderer and a thief, and she’s very sarcastic, cold and ocasionally a little too pragmatic – one of my most recent lines for her is “not everyone has murder for a hobby”…she does have some redeeming qualities, the primary one of which is that she sees herself as a necessary murderer. When someone’s going mad and throwing spells around, killing them is the quickest way to solve a problem – and if everyone else is too squeamish, then maybe it’s useful to have a murderer on hand?

She’s definitely an interesting character, and she’s been a lot of fun to write. About half of the book involves her interacting with an ex-boyfriend, who is as snarky as she is. You may not have realised unless you know me well, but I have a very dark and sarcastic streak of humour that only comes out occasionally (and tends to leave the boys in fits of laughter when it does – they’re as bad as I am!) So the interactions between Ghost and Luk have been almost cathartic; I get to say things I wouldn’t normally, give the snappy answers and hurting words a voice, and in some ways say the things I want to say. It’s a fun relationship as well as an odd one – I like writing the exes, as it’s not a normal relationship to read about. But then not a lot of this book is turning out normal!

I’ve also got some darker emotions coming up, as it’s going to be a painful ending to write. I’m on the last third of the story, and one major character has just died; a second is about to happen. Ghost has strong ties to both, and I know that if I want to write this properly, it’s got to have my heart in it. All fiction writing involves imagining a scenario and then imagining what your characters would do, but some situations hurt more than others – and this is definitely a doozy.

Although that’s sort of the point of grimdark writing. It’s not so much “get your character up a tree and throw rocks at them” as “get the author and audience up there too…”

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.