I can look at myself in the mirror each morning and see the size 6 woman I used to be. I used to have dark hair, no wrinkles and a serious tan every summer. I could see myself as Wonder Woman, that incredible image of a woman super-hero who fought crime and won. I could see myself as young and idealistic, who thought the Baby Boomer generation could change the world through our sheer numbers. And I would be lying to myself.
I used to be a six 6 back, oh say, thirty years ago. I had the flattest stomach in the world. I was lean and mean. And I was tanned. All over. No tan lines. But that is for a different post. Maybe.
I can fool myself into believing I'm that twenty-something, but the reality is different. Not worse, just different.
The voices in my head shape my books. I have to live in a character's head for a long time before I really get the identity of said character. How does she see herself when she looks into the mirror? Does she self-identify as good? As bad? As something the reader knows she clearly isn't?
I can no longer fool myself about not being twenty-something any longer. Neither can my characters fool me into thinking they are something they aren't. My idea of facing them in the mirror is to see their flaws, their strengths, their weaknesses. It's my task to select the traits, warts and stretch marks that make them into readable characters.
In my latest WIP, I guarantee my main character isn't all that likeable. She's definitely interesting. I let her get away with fooling herself at the beginning, but reckoning day is rapidly approaching. When we reach it, you'll feel seismic upheavals. Stand in a doorway and brace yourself. I don't think this character is going to like being "outed" for the person she is.
Have you every written about a character who was self-delusional? How did you solve the problem?
Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, which is now available in e-book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.