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?
Then 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 Emma, 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 Emma 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 Emma, 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 Emma 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.