The dark side of our characters

dark 3

I always write with a comedy slant. It’s not something I try to do, it’s just my style.

I remember once I attempted to write a piece that was completely serious. I forced the story to walk a straight line. There would be no side stories or surprises.

This thing was top notch serious stuff with a heavy message and the reader was going to learn something, damnt!

When I finally got around to reading the thing it became clear I had just created a cheap Harlequin Romance low grade knockoff.

Good God!


So much for my ‘Let’s Get Serious’ moment.

Once I embraced my writing style and opened up to who I was, I was able to relax and create the things that I do. But as I did something would always appear.

A darkness from the comical, clumsy characters always rose to the surface. Each one of them, it seemed, had another story to tell. A heartbreak or a struggle. Something it seemed that the characters hid deep within while using humor as a shield.

It was as if the characters relaxed. They trusted me and with that trust a secret was told.

I remember the first time it happened. It came out of nowhere and took me by surprise. I tried to fix it and when I did the story fell flat. I quickly learned and never tried that again.

As you and I know, once we go against the grain there’s always a price to pay.


A reflection of us

So what is it with the dark side that these characters have? Is it nothing more than inner demons rising to the surface or are they showing their true selves the way we all do?

Have they decided to hold nothing back so their story can be told?

For those of you who write novels it should come as no surprise once a character is complete that something magic happens. Unfortunately for me, being the creator means I feel their darkness too.

It doesn’t take long for their emotional journey to become mine as well.

It’s exhausting but I’ve learned it’s worth it. Their tears, their broken hearts and their laughter run deep through my veins.

So now I have a new story and with that I am seeing their comedy, their clumsiness and that all familiar darkness.

It is who they are in the same way it is who we are and I see no other way but to embrace it.

dark 4



37 thoughts on “The dark side of our characters

  1. Mate, just your picture alone shows that you cannot write a serious novel!! The way the light reflects off of your shiny head is an instant heads up (pun intended) that you will be bringing some comedy gold within the work of yours. Plus it is why we love ya 😀

    Liked by 4 people

    1. See folks: This is friendship in all its glory. I’m not asking for much.

      K.M. Allan will not offer me a beer when I come out to your homeland but I expect a little more from you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Harlequin Romance? Ha! I’m not even going to question that, I’m actually impressed! But getting serious now *ahem* you are absolutely right we begin to feel everything those characters we write about feel, and at times we might take that character on without even knowing it. I mean, really why everyone stared when I walked into work wearing that yellow jumpsuit that Uma Thurman wore in Kill Bill is beyond me. It was a fashion statement for god sake! People in my office need to lighten up……sheesh!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I get sucked into my character’s lives all the time. You have to get into their heads and wallow around in their emotions to write them well. I tend to do serious/troubled characters, but every once in a while, I like to have fun. I have two short stories in the comedic vein that I hope to include in an indie anthology later this year. Of course, I’ll have a lot of serious /dark stories in the same anthology 😉

    Fun post today!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, I never really thought about it like that, but you’re so right, Bryan. Writing invigorates me, but I also find it exhausting, and now I know why. Because I put myself through what the characters are going through. And I do tend to put mine through the wringer sometimes. Thanks for opening my eyes to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Makes one want to write! So they can discover all those things. The dark, the light and the ugly. On second thought, ugly can wait. Maybe just dark and light for now

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry. Got delayed. One of my future characters decided to drop by and we are having an amazing conversation over a glass of wine. And I think I just heard the ‘dark’ character knock on the door too! Wondering what ‘it’ likes to drink!


  6. Characters are my favorite parts of writing! I loved your insights on this. For me there’s a spot in the process where I often learn that my characters aren’t who I originally wanted them to be. Instead of forcing them back to the idea I had when I started writing, I just let them grow. Embracing who are characters are is such a good idea. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy to see you didn’t commit my first mistake. I learned the hard way to leave them alone. I’m experiencing a similar situation in my current work and unlike before I’m stepping out of her way.


  8. Loved this! Spending so long with crafting a character takes a ton of effort, especially when you are experiencing their journey for yourself through their story. Can be very emotionally exhausting when you’ve been so deeply empathetic with them from the beginning.


  9. Exhausting it is but you and I both know we wouldn’t change a thing. I wish everybody could experience this.

    Thank you for stopping by, Tom. Good to hear from you.


  10. Bryan, this is beautiful. I can’t deny feeling slightly envious when I read about these incredible experiences you have when your are writing, how organic you allow all of it to be. I may not be writing a damn thing right now, but I am still learning from you and I am so grateful for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That line “It was as if the characters relaxed. They trusted me and with that trust a secret was told.” was beautiful ❤

    I'm so interested in your style because it is very different from mine. I don't do comedy well. Its not like i'm not funny I just cant seem to manage writing it without seeming forced haha You sir, have a talent 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you (blushing). 🙂

    Remember, you have a talent. You do things that come easy where others struggle. Take that talent and own it. Be the one people talk about.


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