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Sliding Into the Low Point

January 26, 2015

By Anne Hawkinson

It’s just a story, right?  None of my characters are actually real.  They’re just ideas, description, and imagination put to paper (or screen).  Right?

Anne Hawkinson - PhotoThen why is it so hard for me to watch my main character head to the low point of the story?  There’s no stopping her, no way to avoid it.  I want to help Maggie, but I can’t.  She has to go there (alone) or she can’t come out, be changed in some way, and finish the story.  Still, it’s painful to write, and sometimes I can only get Maggie so far before I have to step away from the computer and leave her, on her way to the low point.  I can’t even give her a hint or clue to let her know things will get better and encourage her to hang in there.  I feel like I’m turning my back on her in her hour of need.  Betraying a dear friend who trusted me.  Not only can I not help her, I have to make it as hard for her as I can.  It’s wearing, and I find that the lower she goes, I hunch more and more in my chair, apologize under my breath to Maggie, and hit the keys with the touch of impending doom.

Thankfully, the fact that I am a writer provides me with the ability to bring her out of the low point, relatively unscathed, and much the wiser.  Things will be looking up, she’ll have a new outlook on the world around her, and she’ll fulfill her role in the story as we tidy up the last, loose ends.

I’ve already planned ahead, so I know what wonderful things are in store for Maggie and the other characters.  I just need her to hang in there while I abandon her in this tough section.  I won’t be completely absent – I’ll be watching from the top of the hill.

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