I’ve been thinking about vulnerability a lot lately.
Every time I use a form of social media, I feel vulnerable. Do I feel brave enough to post this? I constantly ask myself this question. It’s exciting, but it’s scary, too. I don’t know who’s out there, who’s listening.
At least some of them may be enemies. By using a social medium, I’m exposing myself and my stories to them.
The bright side is that there are friends out there, too. There are allies. There may even be those special readers I dream of connecting with. Readers I’ll enchant and inspire, like Anne Rice once inspired me.
It’s worth to risk, but I can’t just stop there.
If I truly want to write great stories, I’ve got to go for what scares me. In my fear lies my true strength. In my fear lies the material with which to craft a great story.
Ten years ago, I channeled much of my hatred, the ugly emotions I was ashamed of into a villain named Divian. He appeared in a roleplaying game where elves were the elite, humans were slaves, and half elves were caught in between. He became the leader of a half elven cult, which seemed on the surface to be dedicated to helping a dispossessed race find their place. It taught them to be elitist and ruthlessly sacrifice humans to a bloodthirsty god of balance.
One of my friends truly hated Divian. She assured me this was a compliment. She wouldn’t detest him if he wasn’t well written.
I accepted this with a shiver of fear. After all, it was my ugliness I’d used to shape this character. Would my friend hate me as well, if she knew how much of him came from me?
She wasn’t the only one who reacted strongly to Divian. Those involved got into a heated debate about him. One person insisted he could be redeemed. He truly loved Leiwell, another major character, in spite of his wicked deeds. This love was the key to his redemption. Another player said she hoped this wouldn’t happen. She liked him evil!
This conversation staggered me. It was also one of the proudest moments of my life.
By exposing my vulnerability, I created a character whom people cared about. My writing had provoked thought and debate.
I ended up getting very attached to Divian and the other characters in that game, so attached I found a place for them in ‘Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest’. Divian is now Dyvian, but that’s another story. :)
How about you, dear reader? How vulnerable do you allow yourself to get when you write? How has your vulnerability inspired you?