Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Problem with Perfection

By Lorraine Hossington

None of us are perfect. We all have our roads to travel and we all have flaws to deal with. And those closest to us see them more than anyone else. Yet despite them we can still be loved.
When I first started writing, my characters just didn’t seem to come to life for me. They were wooden people and had no voice of their own. With me pulling the strings, yet still lifeless. They had no emotions or feelings. And to be honest they were boring and even I began to get fed up with writing about them!

Then I asked myself what am I doing wrong? Then the answer came to me. I was trying to create perfect people with perfect lives. And I began to reflect on why I had been doing this. I have to confess I come from a dysfunctional family. And for many years life was never easy for me. And there weren’t a lot of happy times.

Secrets had been kept from me for many years by my parents. Which I didn’t find out until my late 20’s and these rocked my world. So much happened in my own life by this time that I tried to make my characters completely opposite to the life I had led. And this clearly didn’t work.

So now I decided to start putting more emotion into my characters lives. The weaknesses and the pain and struggles they had to live with. I put them through rejection and shame and hidden guilt. Then slowly they began to become real flesh and blood people with lives that were being lived.

I was thirty-one years old when I became a Christian and I had a lot from my past to deal with. And a few years ago I began suffering with depression. It was a hard time for me. Yet with help from the right people I came through it. This is real life and it can be messy at times. And I confess that at one time I wanted to hide away and forget that life can be difficult. That it can hurt us in different ways. 
Yet the difficult times can build character, strength and perseverance. And whilst we go through these times God is always with us.

My characters have their own issues to deal with now. And I enjoy making them face hard decisions and watching how the journey they’re on unfolds. And I know that in each of them somewhere is a piece of me.  The beauty of writing is that you can create your own path for the hero and heroine to walk. You make the decisions about how their lives work out, and what happens at the end of your novel.

I sometimes believe that the characters start writing their own story and go off in a completely different direction than the one you wanted them to go in. Even in the most unlikely places pieces of dialogue will be in my mind and my characters are talking amongst themselves, this happened on a bus a few months ago. I was so interested in what they were saying, that I forgot to get off at my stop! Am I the only one that has had something like this happen to them?

I suspect not. And I know that I’m doing something right because the dialogue inside is still flowing. I’m writing with a freedom that at one time I never had and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to do this. When we write it’s a journey and an adventure and it’s well worth taking the trip, until we reach the end.

About Lorraine Hossington

I write contemporary romance and historical romance (as yet unpublished). I'm single, and live in Cardiff in the U.K, where I love to read and write letting my imagination run free.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Lorraine. I know what you mean about trying too hard to create specific (or perfect) characters when they are desperate to take off on their own. It's exciting to see it happen for the first time, the idea of a character changing his or her direction.

    Enjoy your journey.

    1. Exciting is one word for it. Frightening is another ...

      Thanks for commenting. Lorraine has tried to reply, but Blogger doesn't seem to be accepting her comments.

    2. Lorraine is still having problems with commenting, but has asked me to post her reply:

      "I am enjoying with how my characters have come alive. And that gives them the freedom to grow. And I'm definitely enjoying the paths they are taking."

  2. If I'm struggling to get past a point in my short story or novel, I usually throw something unexpected in the way of the protagonist to see what happens. Sometimes, it's enough to get me writing again and past that hurdle, other times it stays and becomes part of the story. It's always fun to see what havoc you can cause on the page where you never would in real life... ;)

    1. That sounds like good advice! Although I find it can be difficult to be mean to my characters ...

      Thanks for commenting. Lorraine has tried to reply, but is having technical difficulties.

    2. A reply from Lorraine (who is still puzzling through her commenting problems!):

      "It is hard to have pain in our own life. So by giving characters some of what we go through it makes them have to persevere and become stronger in their journey. Though it can be difficult it also applies to our own life. Plus it is hard to give them pain, yet by doing this it can strengthen your story."