This is the talk I had with my MC, Xander, a few days ago. I had it pointed out by a beta reader that I never really gave a description of him, but described everyone else. When I tried to “see” Xander, his height and build were clear to me, but nothing else. After a few days of trying to figure it out, I finally did something I never thought I would do. I did a character interview of sorts. It . . . didn’t go as intended, but I finally got him to show himself to me. I posted this on Twitter yesterday, but felt this was a more appropriate place for it.
So, without further ado, here it is. X = Xander and M = Me from here on.
X: You seem anxious. Is something wrong?
M: Not exactly. I’ve just never done this before. I feel weird, like I’m talking to myself, but…you’re not me. I’m frustrated. Mad at myself for not being able to see you. My MC, of all people, is the ONLY one I can’t see? Embarrassing.
X: I can’t see you, either.
M: You’re not supposed to. I’m the writer, but I try to stay out of your way as much as possible. It’s your story, not mine.
X: It’s our story. It wouldn’t exist without you.
M: That’s not true…
X: Oh, for hell’s sake, would you knock it off? You’re being childish.
M: How am I being childish? I’m just being truthful.
X: Truthful? I call bull shit. You put this whole thing together so our story could be told, and you can’t even admit you’re a part of it? You’re a coward.
M: Ouch. Since when did you get mean? I thought you were the kind, understanding type.
X: No, I’m the honest type. I tell people what they need to hear, not what they want.
X: Look, you’re a part of this, whether you like it or not. You don’t get to just come in, write it out, and then disappear. I may lead the army in this book, but you lead us all. I didn’t want to be General, but I had to step up and do it anyway. There’s no such thing as leading from the sidelines. A great leader always takes the forward-most position. Your troops need to see you. We win together and lose together. No matter the outcome, we’re all in this.
M: I don’t want to be seen. I get what you’re saying, but–
X: “but” nothing! Stop making excuses or go back to the miserable state of being you were in before. We all know how you just LOVED pretending to be normal in the average workplace.
M: Don’t roll your eyes at me!
X: Then quit hiding and acting like you’re ashamed of us.
M: That’s not fair. You know how proud I am of you all.
X: Then prove it. Show me you’re capable of standing up for us. Every time you shy away when people ask about us, you make us feel your fear of being judged. You feel like you aren’t good enough at what you do to be proud of yourself? Guess what? We ARE what you do, and that means you think WE aren’t good enough.
M: …that’s not how I mean it.
X: Well that’s how it is. I know you’re scared, and that’s ok, but you have to get over it enough to not be crippled by your fear. You think I wasn’t scared every step of the way in this book? That I won’t be scared in the next one? Of course, I will, but I will cease to exist if I don’t rise to the occasion, and so will you. The only parts of yourself that you value will die.
M: Seems kinda harsh.
X: You know I’m right.
M: What if we fail?
X: What if we don’t?
M: I’m afraid of both scenarios, to be honest.
X: That’s ok. At least you’re finally being honest with me.
M: So…can you see me now?
M: I see you, too. Now I just have to figure out how to describe you on paper. You’re…different than I wanted to imagine you. I thought you’d have black hair and look less…normal.
X: *Laughs* Oh?
M: Yeah. I’m going to have to rewrite the first scene a bit. You’re not dressed the way I wrote it.