We're All Mad Here

Anne here!

It may come as no surprise to anyone that's read what I write, here or otherwise, but I enjoy Alice in Wonderland. I prefer the animation, but the live actions were good too. Anyway, there is a point to this blog post and it has to do with writing and reading characters that decent into madness. My favorite thing to do to my characters, and something I need to work on the most.

Now, while Alice does not descent into madness, the world around her is confusing and turned up side down. She doesn't know if it's real or a dream and she isn't sure she belongs in that world or the one she came from, but she's doing everything to get back while learning that being mad isn't so bad.

Now, I love stories about madness and not being where you're supposed to be, but finding out that's where you were meant to be. Take my book baby, Once Bitten Twice Turned, for example. I didn't start out wanting to create this world around the main character that she doesn't believe in. I didn't set out to create madness within her, but that's where the story took me. I wrote her to push everything new and strange away from herself, as she was taught growing up. The supernatural world and her wouldn't go hand in hand if she had anything to do with it.

Then, something out of her control happened and she became a hybrid with a thirst for blood and a craving for hearts. Now, I could have just built on that, but I wanted to throw her in such a deep denial, that she fell into a hole she could climb out of without the aid of someone she least expected. Adela goes through a lot in this first book of the series. She doesn't get much of a break in the sequel either, but at least she won't see her best friend killed in front of her. Again.

I wanted Adela to think she was getting comfortable with herself and the new world she was forced into until I take that comfort away by killing Gabe, the only support in her life. She forced to know that she has a biological brother, that she's adopted, and then she's forced to chose between her new brother - the maniac - her best friend and her parents. Let's just say it ends up with her being the only survivor. This begins her road to madness, something she's feared and warned would happen when she was bitten. No one was meant to have vampire and werewolf blood running in their veins.

I end up making it up to her by sending a werewolf, and vampire mate to her in the form of Ori and Alec. When that isn't enough, Milli comes into the picture to mourn and grieve with her over the loss of her brother, Gabe. She pulls Adela out a deep dark hole, filled with the voice of her crazed brother, haunting her from the other side. I debated keeping Darrel as a ghost in the story. A lot of readers didn't think he was necessary, but I found his constant annoyance and reminders really forced the denial and destruction onto Adela. So he stayed and she had to battle her depression, the constant annoyance of her guilt, and the sour savior that came at the worst/best possible time.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work that needed to be done on the original story before it was published and that falls on me, completely. I still enjoy the story that made it out, but I'm setting out to make the sequel that much better. My plan is to have Adela fall into a madness that was set in place years before she was even bitten, before the virus was transferred to her, and before she thought of her life as being anything but ordinary.

Not to spoil much of the sequel, for anyone that's read the first book, but Adela will be put through trials by her long lost father. She finds out that he was the one that orchestrated the attack on her, years ago, and she must figure out how to escape the clinic that she's been told has only helped her. She can't trust anyone, least of all the people that share faces of her loved ones back home.

Despite not trusting anyone, she finds a kindred soul in Millicent, the nurse that looked just like Milli, and is in fact, her clone. She forms a quick bond that will end up saving both their lives again.

I've had so much fun writing Adela and the world that may or may not be real around her that I forget sometimes that I based a lot of her guilt and depression experience on my own battles with the same issues. No my dead brother didn't haunt me, and my best friend wasn't killed in front of me, but the way she handles her emotions and the way the darkness seems to sit around her, is very much how my own depression hits me. The lingering feeling of guilt that is usually misplaced and the storm cloud that never seems to go away. That's all first hand experience.

Now, that isn't to say I handle all of that the same way she still does. While she deals with similar feelings of believing she's emotionless, when she is filled with too many emotions to deal with at once, she is also still processing how to handle all of that. While, I, have found my own process of how to deal with the same issues, but there will always be bad days.

The important thing to take away from this post is that writing characters that fall into worlds they don't understand, or capturing them within their own minds, is fun. But you need to make sure it makes sense to the read (something I didn't always do, and I'm still learning). However, it doesn't have to make perfect sense, you want your reader to feel the character's confusion but you also want them to enjoy it enough and follow the story.

Golden rules. Make your character happy. Take the happiness away from them. Force challenges to get the happiness back. And always. Always. Give them a happy ending, because they deserve it, they've been through enough. There is always a light out of the darkness, just as there is always a way out of the madness.


Check out Once Bitten Twice Turned on Amazon, link on the homepage!

#amwriting #writersblog #blog #writinglife #authorlife #author #editing #alwaysbewriting #writerscommunity #writingadvice #aliceinwonderland #characterbuilding

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