“The Boy” – Writing the Characters for the Story

I’ve read and heard of other author’s difficulties in creating “believable characters” – how hard it is to create depth and dimension within them, ‘read their mind’ so that they behave consistently and develop them with age – or in the story.  I don’t have that problem.

Many people have written me telling me how ‘wonderful’ the characters in the novel I’ve written, “The Boy“, are.  How ‘real’ and four dimensional they are.  I say four dimensional because as in every good story, they evolve through time.  It’s not an easy evolution; it never was, for “I” had to go through the same evolution inside.  That’s what I mean when I tell people it’s the story of my hearts and souls; that, while ‘fiction’, it is the story of ‘our lives’ – or at least two of them.  (Thompson is another ‘real’ character in my mind – if you were to read the story and realize that I wrote “Thompson” whenever he was being bad, and “Harold” (his first name) whenever he was being . . . well, as normal as such a person could be – you would understand – and perhaps fear and shrink away in horror and distaste from me, knowing such an entity lays within my mind – or that one is even possible to.  It’s funny in a way: I’ve had people tell me they sympathize with Harold (the protagonist) – Harold, a sadistic man.  Harold, who rapes a child – they sympathize with him.  How well written is that where they feel that sort of thing?  Where (as some of them said) at the end they “kind of feel sorry for him”.  About a sadistic perverted man . . . yeah: I know ‘people’ inside and out TOO well, even for my own good sometimes (and it hurts inside, too).

However, Harold is actually a blend of ‘two of them’ (two of my alternate personalities); more, perhaps several.  He has a bit of the ‘hunter’s mind’ – which means he has a little bit of our ‘little one’ (a major player in our system, he often drives things behind the scenes without any of ‘us’ being aware of what he’s done).

The child was the hardest to write; that’s because of a child’s mind.  They are not like yours or mine (an adult mind, or even a teen one, which is what Matthew, one of the main players, originally was . . . after all, it was our ‘inner teen’ who wrote this story the ‘first time’ long ago . . . and yes, we still have the thirty some odd page manuscript laying around . . . somewhere.)  But being able to ‘become’ that child, look ‘out’ at the world through a young boy’s mind . . . (or even a girl’s) – and really ‘feel’ it – the confusion and the wonder; the fears and the pride – well, that’s another “DID thing” I have going on in my favor.  I can understand . . .

But when I read about these other authors – they’re attending seminars, taking courses, spending a LOT of time studying hard trying to ‘learn character development’ . . . how to ‘write one’ – and while I sympathize, I can’t help but find myself laughing somewhat.  After all: I have a “multimind” – just chock full of them, my brain is like a can with a lot of nuts rattling around within.

And here’s the ‘trick’: I can ‘blend’ or ‘meld’ any of them – or any of them with me – to a degree.  I have to be careful; they can hurt ‘my’ mind and soul; they can give me pain.  It “hurts” to read the story “The Boy” – sometimes it hurts to even think about it.  This comes from ‘the worlds inside’.

The worlds inside is a system of worlds, imaginary places (perhaps . . . this ties into an aspect of my own religion) – where “I” (or we, if you prefer, because like a bag of Lays chips, there never is just ‘one’) – keep parts of ourselves.  Like a system of storage – only this one spans universes in my mind.  I love my “Island World”; it’s a place of healing and comes from an earlier novel I wrote, one I wrote while still in my childhood.  It’s based on “Lord of the Flies” (my number one book of all time next to Stephan King’s “The Stand” . . . okay, and about a few dozen others.  I’d literally cleaned out every library of every science fiction story ever written by the time I was 16 . . . lots of reading there, folks, lol’ing).

But having this ‘ability’ – which society technically terms a ‘disability’ (the being DID thing) – though that’s not the reason for my disability at all (it’s merely physical) – allows me to build and create characters in my mind that are consistent in their emotions (or not), evolve over time (like I do – and have done).  I don’t have all the problems with the main ones because I have at least three inside – and three from different times – a child, a teenager, and an ‘adult’ being.  I also have scientists and military minds.  Add to that a survivalist (trained for nuclear war); a wide eyed and innocent pre-teen . . .

Well, it becomes easy to come up with characters, though a good plot can be a chore.  And “write what you know” and “write what you love” (which means: write what can affect you) – is a ‘trip’ for me.  After all, the book “The Boy” came from a ‘trip’ I had in a dream – a “life dream” where you live nearly a full lifetime and a full run of seasons in a single dream.  I’ve had a few of them: entire “lives” lived in a dream – and “The Boy” was one of them I had when I was a teen.  It often affects me – I know I need to promote this book some more.  We’ll see.  Unlike most authors, I can’t lean on “friends and family” to spread word of mouth because of what I put on the cover: “Written by a survivor of child abuse who is DID” would be enough for them to shoot me in the head.  (At least my mom would.  Maybe even my dad.  Either way – it would cause many problems.)  And I can’t see them promoting a book which insinuates that they may have abused me.

Oh well.  Just one of many problems.  It’s hard to find time to a) promote a book, b) overcoming my resistance to producing spam (unlike some, I resist the compulsion to leave a link and an ad everywhere I comment online) – c) work on my own issues, d) get some writing done and e) deal with life and ‘things’.

Of them all, only one has the path where happiness leads: C and D.  After all – those are my own.

Graphic for the Novel, "The Boy" by JW


About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3IVKK ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Boy-J-W/dp/1461022681). JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
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5 Responses to “The Boy” – Writing the Characters for the Story

  1. rogerdcolby says:

    As a writer it is what we experience that makes us better writers, and practice, practice, practice. I’ll have to check out your book. When I’m not writing novels I’m directing an alternative education program and care for a group of very damaged kids. I’ve seen so much, not having grown up in a home where abuse and anger were commonplace. My parents were so good to me. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.


    • jeffssong says:

      If practice is key to writing, then I have a lot going for me: I’ve been writing stories and poems since I could write. In H.S. I used to sit down each year and begin a novel (5 subject notebook). LOL – the teachers thought I was keeping notes until they caught on, usually a few months later. But hey! It got me through English in H.S.!

      I’m glad that you are able to work with ‘damaged’ kids; lol, tho’ I don’t look at them as damaged so much as ‘different’. Being raised in an abusive environment is just like being raised in another culture; just ‘different’. Training and re-raising these kids to be responsible, healthy, functioning adults in OUR society however is a very different thing – and quite trying. I don’t know as I could do it. But I’m glad you are there for them. Exposure to someone who had a normal childhood and was raised with a normal ‘value’ and emotional response system helps a lot towards straightening some kids out. And it means they are not rejected nor all alone. (I’ve had that kind of problem too frequently, LOL). However, we’ve been lacking on the “self-promotion” thing – go figure. You know abused children and how that stuff goes. Really hard for me (us?) to do – tho’ I do have a very hard businesslike ‘man’ inside of me, LOL! Thanks for the comment/reply!


      • rogerdcolby says:

        Your experience in high school sounds like mine. I have been writing since I could form paragraphs. Thank you so much for your insight. They really aren’t “damaged”. They just need love.


  2. jeffssong says:

    “They just need love.” I say “wow” inside out of amazement and not some scorn or sarcasm. I say ‘wow’ because when I read that, it set off certain events (still does, sitting here) about which I’ve never written – and some I have. Being sexually groomed as a child – and then later on, having the molester have me attempt to bring other children ‘in’ to his groomed crowd (after I was too old, I guess, and he was tired of me: I was about ten or eleven years old) – being *conditioned* to see/feel sex WAS love, or at least their willingness to ‘make love’ with me meant that they DID love me (and I wouldn’t ‘make love’ unless I felt at least something . . . though sometimes that thing was fear of non-compliance; rejection can be a hurtful thing as well, a form of abuse).

    LOL, I sure covered that kind of thing in that book – from Jeff’s mind, the stranger’s mind; my mind, Matthew’s mind – just to name a few. (I’m trying not to ‘spoil’ the book for others here). But I also cover a lesson I wish some child predators would learn: If you love them, don’t treat them like that. Don’t burden them with the yoke of shame that follows somewhere down the line. And as an abused child I can say: the ‘sex’ isn’t what broke me; no, the physical/mental did – that and all the moving around. The ‘love’ that I had sorta kept me alive for a long time – in places and times where all I had were those ‘fond memories’. May seem strange to someone who has never been abused like that: groomed and confused; “brainwashed” in SO many ways to see and be SO many things – even many other childhood abuse survivors don’t understand. Which I can understand their point of view. There’s a big difference between being forcibly raped and going along with it – and a HUGE difference in the amount and type of shame. And though I hate to say it, almost ALL of that shame comes from society’s pressures and views – from ‘outside’ and not in. Saying something is ‘bad’ all the time (eg. sex, nakedness, etc) – which us parents do (“put your clothes on; do you want someone to see you?” “Quit playing with that thing!”) – and then turning around and lumping it all on the abuser . . . well, some of it rubs off on the child who “went along” as well. (wry smile verging on grimace). Really a bad game to play on a kid.

    Anyway – thanks for writing, and thank you for what you do. Anything to help these kids achieve inner happiness helps them recover from what they went through.


  3. Keep expressing yourself.


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