I’m one of those people who is vague about their story details online. It’s not for any fear of someone stealing my ideas; oh heck no. It’s because the mess inside my head is so darn complicated, I doubt anyone who isn’t bombarded with it regularly would really understand. I’m a master of confusing people. But one thing most writers can relate to is being mean to your characters.
I wrote myself into a corner. While contemplating what a certain character (we’ll call him D) would face during a seven day span, I realized the group of people he’s trying to help would have some resentment about how he left them the last time. He was a jerk, really, making threats and pretty much ungrateful about the fact this one guy saved his life. But this one guy now needs him, so the impact is minimal. D‘s daughter, on the other hand, isn’t needed, but wants to help.
That’s where the meanness came in. Technically, she was to be executed by these people, but because of D‘s action, she got to leave with her life. When she returns, a few of these people decide to exact “justice”.
Bullying is a serious issue, and I ended up with a situation where there was no good outcome. It troubles me. She’s the victim, and yet I couldn’t come up with solution that wouldn’t break the rest of the story or that I wouldn’t personally rebel against as a parent.
I did decide on an outcome to get past the situation. It has a ripple effect through the rest of the story, and there’s been a lot of notes where revision is now needed. I’m satisfied with how it works out in the story. D gets some humility, his daughter proves she’s more mature than her father, and the bullies feel shame and regret for their actions. But honestly, I’m still insecure about and worried that people will think I didn’t handle it right, or that I’m not taking it seriously enough. I guess we’ll see.
Have you ended up with a bad situation? Do you ever write about sensitive topics like bullying? How did you handle it?