All will be well. I can’t escape these words. This morning I was again at my computer, working through a revision of a middle grade book for my agent. Her main critique was that my secondary characters/supporting cast were two dimensional.
It has been a painful process to go back in and tear up my book page by page, and begin again. But more painful than all this is the creation of three dimensional characters.
When writers write, we work as God. We have the power of creating worlds, settings, and scenes, to create the garden of Eden. And we have the power to create Adam and Eve in that perfect garden, free of trouble and heartache
And, I wonder, when I play god, does God love the world in the same way I love my story? Does God love his characters in the same way I love mine? And if my characters were living, breathing, beings who could reach me via a prayer, what would they say to me. For I have set their paths on a horrible trajectory and the glory in my story will not be their triumph living an easy life, but of their triumph through a great and terrible suffering.
This is where most of my pain comes from in writing three dimensional characters, because I know that if God were to do what I am doing to my characters, I might hate Him. But that is what we as storytellers do, tell real stories. Stories about characters with real problems and real pain. And as I lean over my story, I the god, the creator of their world, their grand Inquisitor, create stories in which I will break their hearts in pieces. Yet, I tell my three dimensional characters, “All will be well.”
It is the only message I have for them. All will be well. And it is that belief that helps me spin words into flesh and bone, and breathe life into their two dimensional beings. And if a writer can create such real, authentic characters, then it is the author’s triumph when a reader picks up the story, falls in love with the lives of flat fictional words, and says as he turns the page in spellbound furry, “I hope all will be well.”