Your Antihero Can Still be Your Hero

I made the mistake of writing a book about a character going through some serious medical issues. At the time, I didn’t have any major medical crises of my own, and then shortly thereafter I developed disturbingly similar neurological problems. My character handled the issue with a certain amount of grace. I, however, have not. I’ve been something of a hot mess, really. Hey, it turns out major spine surgery really freaking sucks. Because I’ve been so ill, I haven’t spent much time working on editing said manuscript. I had all these visions of binge watching television as I recovered, but even that has been a challenge most days. As I’m starting to recover, it’s a goal of mine to try and get back into the mix of my usual writing schedule. And, you know, that whole basic feeling like a human being thing (although partial cyborg or at least “metal head” I guess will also be acceptable now).

When the post-op pain recedes enough for me to dig out my laptop, I get all fired up to seize the day and work on one of my favorite books that I’ve ever written. Only problem is, I’ve found it sort of traumatic. Not to brag here, but I’d done waaay too good of a job describing how some of those painful medical problems really do feel. I wish my imagination hadn’t been so accurate. Or graphic. Nothing says fun like a favorite manuscript suddenly giving you visceral PTSD flashbacks of horrifying medical procedures.

I’m still not certain how I’m going to tackle that, but I did do some thinking about the difference in how my protagonist, Hyojin, managed the situation versus how I’ve been handling it. Though I love her, she is nothing like me (I’d like to page some Mary Sues to the table right about now, but unfortunately that’s not how I rolled with this last book). So, with that in mind, it’s no secret that writing can be therapeutic for a variety of reasons. In this case, I’ve been trying to reframe my protagonist as a sort of role-model. Funny, because this character is something of an antihero, so using her as an actual role-model might be a dubious suggestion, but she is certainly a strong character, and I could use a little something to help me get through the last legs of this insanely difficult surgical recovery. If Hyojin can do it, maybe I can too.

Now I just have to avoid being permanently traumatized by my own disturbingly prophetic writing.

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