I think I must be something of a morose creature at heart. I seem to have a strange fascination with the ugly side of things. Secondhand, of course, but even more so if I have some hand in it. I'm not so cruel as to inflict this nature on those around me (unless of course they own a puppy mill or flog small children and then hey, all bets are off), but I do, sadly, take it out on my characters, sometimes ad nauseam. At least I'm sure they would say so.
I try to contain these urges, but I fail miserably and often. I just can't help but take an unmitigated glee in destroying their perfectly constructed little worlds, especially when they think they have it all figured out, all neatly ordered and running smooth. I know some people say they have trouble causing their characters pain. I always want to pen them a quick note saying, 'send them over here, I'll take care of that for you.'
And I'm not afraid to off any of them. Ask my mother who threatened to stop reading my fledgling attempts at fiction due to my macabre penchant for causing my lead character to meet some tragic, untimely end. There was poor Daniel who had run away from home to search for his dead beat dad, only to get run down by a car after finally finding his house. Then there was poor Kevin, who took a rather nasty header off the top of a five story building thanks to the mind-altering effects of his raging drug habit. And Jamie. Ah yes, Jamie. A heroic man in a kilt that met his end in a bloody battle, leaving our heroine to mourn his passing for the rest of her natural life. My best friend has yet to forgive me for that one. And we must not forget Annie, who met with the wrong end of a pitchfork during an argument with her ex-love and got dropped down an abandoned well for her effort.
I'm not sure what this love of destruction says about me. Well, actually, yes I do, and the word masochist keeps coming up, but I'm not listening. I'm sure some day I'll seek professional help for it, but I'm sure that won't happen until after I've told my very last story. I'm may be a masochist, but I'm not totally insane. Hardly seems worth it to mess with what works.
It's this bizarre attraction to the dark under belly that keeps me coming back to tell another story. The plot never arrives in my head first, it's always the character. They set their baggage down at my mental door and ring the bell. Being the obliging hostess, I invite them in. I can't wait to distract them long enough to allow me to dig through their things and see what horrible tragedies they've suffered, what scars they try to cover so that no one will see, what repressed fears lurk in their psyche. Once I've finished trashing their perfectly ordered packing job, I go to work. Imagine their horror as I trot out their frailties and threaten to show them to the world. They try hard to stop me, to keep them hidden, and often I'll let them believe they've succeeded. Lull them into a false sense of security just as I lower the blade and cut off all their fledging hopes with one sharp whack! Oops...sorry 'bout that...tsk...my, but what a mess I've made...
I try not to smirk, or titter. I'll even go so far as to muzzle my hands over my mouth to keep that guffaw from bursting forth. It's hard to keep it in though, especially when they sit there and stare at me like they can't believe I just did that. I throw my arms wide and claim innocence. C'mon, what did you expect? Did you not see the sign in the yard when you arrived? It clearly said - Beware, Writer at Work. Am I to be blamed because you failed to heed the warning? I think not.