Guest Post Friday

For the love of them

by Gary Ghislain

The real issue with writing fiction, is not if you’re going to find an agent, or publish, or sell a gazillion copies. The issue with writing, is why you do it at all? Why do you spend countless hours sitting on your ever expending tush (damn you, double decker Oreos!) typing words and chasing a dragon that no one really cared about in the first place?

 You don’t do it for the hard cash (for those of you thinking there’s plenty of money to be made in publishing, I’d advise turning to more profitable activities, like waiting tables, car washing, or mowing the lawn of your Aunt Daisy). You don’t do it for the fame – I mean, your uncle Wayne has more chances of becoming famous for eating 66 hot-dogs in one sitting than you’ll ever be for getting a book deal.

 It’s not to shine. Not to be different. Not to find your place in the world. Oh, and it’s definitely not to have something fun to do on a rainy day. Surely, those of you who ever sat for an entire day in front of a blank page know that writing is just one notch funnier than hanging yourself.  No, we do it for one reason – and one reason only: we do it because we fall in love with a bunch of strange and troubled imaginary friends, also known as “characters”. That’s all there is to it, really. The greatest story waiting inside your head will never be written if you don’t fall desperately in love with your characters and their quirks.

And you know the funniest thing about that?  Those people you love, your characters, you’re going to be a real mean asshole to them! That’s the deal. Your job as a writer is to make them suffer. Hit them on the head! Hide a snake in their burger! Make them fall in love… WITH A GIRL!!! 

Take one of my favorite YA series, The Hunger Games. Here is a writer who creates a bunch of memorable and attaching characters. She spends hundreds of pages shaping them, making sure you fall in love with them. And then?  She throws them in the game, burn them, cut them, explode them, turn them into bleeding minced meat! And she doesn’t even give them a glass of water for their trouble!

 Tough love, huh?

 Oh, thinking about it… As a writer, you will always be the villain.

Born in France to an international family (1 part French, 2 
parts Spanish, 1 part Strange), Gary Ghislain grew up between 
Paris and the French Riviera. After obtaining a master's 
degree in literature and linguistics at the University of 
Paris 8, he packedhis passport, a few reasonably clean 
T-shirts and his beloved Converse shoes, and headed out to 
travel the world, work odd jobs and write humorous young adult 
novels (How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend, 2011 – 
Twilight of the True Blood Vampire Diaries, 2013). He now 
lives in Antibes on the French Riviera, enjoying the sun and 
the sea while working on his next novels.

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