Learning to be Honest

I’ve really wanted to avoid ranting, but I guess it can’t be helped sometimes.

So… Yeah, his will be pretty stupid, and I don’t really expect anyone to care.

Do any of us really know what’s best for us? What we want? What makes us happy? It’s irritating to feel like you have everything figured out, only to realize you really don’t know the first damn thing about making yourself happy. And it’s even worse to find yourself doing something that you hope will potentially make things better, only to find yourself lying awake at 2AM, wishing you’d just isolated yourself and disappeared. Blogging because it’s the only way you can really get any of this out.

I realized something today.

I hate fake people.

I don’t mean “fake” in the sense most people seem to use it these days. I don’t mean people who act kind to your face but talk about you behind your back, although they do suck, too. No, I mean people–generally everyone, really–who can’t be honest with themselves and how they feel. It’s a harsh reality, but when it comes down to it, most people don’t trust other people. Casual conversation and joking sarcasm is one thing, but how often do people really open themselves up? I mean really open themselves up.

Not just complaining about this or that, but really getting into your own honest issues. Accepting your own insecurities and allowing yourself to be honest about them. Why? Because everyone has those insecurities, and I don’t feel it’s fair that we make eachother feel so isolated and misunderstood.

This world is full of people who pretend to be okay when they’re not. Full of people who act like they have all the answers when they really don’t. People who act invincible when they aren’t. it isn’t just a few people, it’s a greater majority of people than most people realize, and that’s the problem. When you look around, all you see are people who are successful, happy, and who seem to have everything they want. So you find yourself feeling isolated, wondering why you can’ be like them. Why you can’t have what they have. Why you can’t be happy.

And in the most extreme cases, people go crazy. Because if there’s one thing in the world that can drive a person to do something they never thought they could do, it’s isolation. Even the strongest people break down, and when that “no one cares about me/it doesn’t matter what I do” feeling sets in long enough to cement itself… it changes you. And even if it’s only momentarily, that one moment of weakness can drive you to a decision that could completely ruin your life forever.

So… here’s the meat of this.

I had a friend. We weren’t best friends–first-tier or any of that. No, we were more third-tier friends. We went to the same high school and eventually started working together. We shared music, I gave him rides home, and I stayed with him at work until 4am, even after having been working since 8am that morning, to teach him how to be a shift leader at our job. We never really spent time together outside of work, bu we had a lot in common. More than he’d realized, and I wish to God I’d told him that.

He was similar to me in personality. Extremely sensitive, maybe too sensitive. Cared too much about what people thought about him and said about him. Cared too much about what mattered to other people instead of just doing what made him happy. Wanted someone to love him to a desperate degree. And toward the end, his sadness and loneliness turned to bitterness. I wish I had told him I understood. Told him he isn’t the only one with terrible luck with relationships. Not so much maintaining one, but even just finding someone to love you, and accept the love you have to give because your heart is so big that when it hurts it makes your whole life crumble. I understood, but I was too busy pretending that everything in my life was perfect. Like I had everything I wanted. Like I didn’t feel alone.  It didn’t help, in his case, that he was a virgin in a world full of people who value sex to the point of treating it like air. His initial values were to wait until marriage, but those values changed when he was constantly persecuted by everyone around him for holding onto “something so stupid”.

I wish I’d taken up for him. Helped him fight for his right to retain his innocence, because it’s easier with two voices, even if you’re both still outnumbered.

He was a good person who did a horrible thing.

He fell in love once and became obsessed. They didn’t date for very long, but he still felt something. The problem is, what counts for “love” these days usually isn’t much more than mutual dependency. The relationship is doomed to fail when that dependency wears off, for one side or the other. And it’s worse when one side is still holding onto that dependency and the other wants distance, or to chase something they really want. It wasn’t easy for him, being ridiculed by everyone at that job for getting dumped and still hanging on.  It can’t be easy to be a virgin after having dated someone who talks about sex a good 90% of the time. And it can’t be easy to want to have sex with that person and get rejected.

No, of course it isn’t easy. I’ve been there myself. But most people talk about sex these days, don’t they?

I left that job and lost all contact with him. Like I said, we were only third-tier friends, who really only spoke at work. But I heard from mutual friends that he’d left that job for another. And he was finally getting his life together. Got a promotion, finally got a car, moved out of his house and got a place with a roommate. Things were looking up.

So why…?

I guess I just hate how fucked up things can get. How suddenly you can see someone you once knew turn into someone you never thought they could be. It isn’t like I agree with his decision or support it. No, I honestly believe he did the most terrible, selfish thing he could have possibly done. That ANYONE could possibly do. But… I guess what breaks my heart is understanding how it could have come to that point.

He found a new job and ended up repeating the process. Met a new girl, fell in love, dated a short time, etc. I didn’t know the details, and no one I knew really knew either. What I learned came from the news. He wanted to be with her, came to see her, bought her flowers and gifts–really tried. I guess he was desperate. But… it doesn’t work that way. “Trying” doesn’t really get people anywhere when it comes to love. Ironically, it seems like the less you try, the more successful you are. And it’s a common fact. Most people find themselves attracting people they don’t really care about while repelling the ones they want to notice them.

The news said he went into that place one day and shot that girl. She died on the scene. A young girl who valued her family more than anything else–probably wasn’t interested in dating at all. It wasn’t his fault–probably didn’t have anything to do with him that she turned him down. But I don’t know the details, and local news has a way of twisting situations to make a victim seem more angelic and the assailant more deviant. He shot her and ran and hid outside overnight while the police were hunting him down. I was told about it by a mutual friend within an hour after he did it, while the pursuit was still at its apex. We were all surprised, because we knew him and the kind of guy he was. There was no way he would’ve done that. We worried overnight, and I honestly believed, knowing the kind of person he was, that the guilt would lead to him turning himself in.

But as the police closed in on him, he decided to take the other way out…

I told this story because it caused me to think about things. About what can happen when people become too obsessed with images and going with the group thought of “what’s good” and “how things should be” to the point of isolating people with a different point of view. It isn’t fair. It just isn’t fair. And it ruins people who just can’t fit into that mold.

I’m not someone to harp on things or tell anyone what to do, because I hardly know what I’m doing in my own life. But I’m saying this because I really feel this.

Don’t be a liar. Don’t be fake. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Don’t kid yourself about how you feel, even if it’s painful or embarrassing to admit. Because chances are–no, almost guaranteed– you aren’t the only one. And if everyone’s sitting around waiting on someone else to just understand, why can’t it be you? Why don’t people reach out more and try? It hurts to be rejected, made fun of, and isolated, but that doesn’t make it fair to follow the herd and shame others for fear of being shamed yourself. Be brave.

Let’s just be honest, okay? Let’s actually try. Because… Even if you never realize it, that simple “I understand” could mean more than the world to someone. It could definitely save a life.

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Weird Dreams

So after laying awake for a while, contemplating life, then writing, and then binge reading The Divorcette’s blog until like 4am, I had the CRAZIEST pseudo-nightmare! And I feel like if I don’t jot this thing down, I’m gonna lose it!

Also, I’m REALLY hoping someone out there can interpret this thing for me. So here goes:

So I’m running through the city, and Godzilla’s tearing through it (but I don’t know if it was actually Godzilla, but for some reason my mind registered the monster as Godzilla). And I’m freaking out because being IN a disaster is a MUCH different experience from watching a disaster film. Everyone around me is screaming and panicking, the ground is trembling from the impacts of the high-rise towers crumbling behind us–brick, large tiles, and pipes plummeting into the streets like rain. It was intense, and I suddenly got that “yeah, all of the problems in life you’ve been bitching about don’t mean SHIT now, huh?” feeling.

I remember, for one earlier portion, I was trying to get into some car with some people and looked up and saw Rodan swooping down in the overcast sky. And I mean, it was legit Rodan too, complete with his screeching roar, flying around and gettin’ dirty with some helicopters. 

SHIT WAS BANANAS!!!

So, for some reason, and despite the fact that this creature is out in the city knocking ENTIRE BUILDINGS OVER, I decided to seek refuge in some building. I think it was a mall or something. Maybe it was because of man’s natural “when shit gets too wild, go the fuck inside” instinct. And while inside this place, which may have actually been a hotel, now that I think about it, I came across a girl, about my age.

So here’s when the dream had a genre shift, and switched from “kaiju destruction” to “trapped in a place with a monster, Alien style”.

The girl started following me. 

I didn’t know her, and even thinking about it now, she didn’t seem to resemble anyone I know in my real life. And, as if this monster had always been about 9′ instead of somewhere in the ballpark of 600′-900′ tall, it came bursting in through he front door like a school bus driven by some guy who had a bad fight with his wife that morning and just couldnt stand the thought of driving these kids around anymore.

(He was also really, REALLY dunk). 

And, you know how we all like to think w’re special? And, like, we all want our time to shine, and to be in the spotlight? I mean, it’s cool, but in times like this, nobody wants to be the protagonist. This monster, which could have gone ANYWHERE, came after me. Or it was after the girl who started following me. I don’t fuckin’ know. But we ran while hearing this giant (but not excessively large) beast thundering behind us, charging at a pace that was threatening, but slow enough to stay behind us. And I think this monster might have been a different one from the monster outside (that was probably still destroying buildings), because at one point we had this exchange.

Her: We need to get up and away from this thing!

Me: We can’t, because if we go to the top, we’ll be trapped up there, no matter what happens!

Her: Then what do we do!?

I mean, I think that’s how it went down… I just remember being heavily genre savvy in the sense of knowing that in a situation when a giant monster is knocking buildings over and you have the bright idea to hide from it INSIDE ONE OF ITS TARGETS FOR DESTRUCTION, that you shouldn’t go too high in the building, because if the tower goes down, you have no possible way to escape it.

…Something like that. I know my shit, yo.

So we make our way up to the second floor while hearing this monster tearing the world apart on the first floor, like a drunk father who’s team just lost the game and he’d bet his best friends and like 5 other guys $50 each that his team would win. We’re trying not to go too high because we still need an opportunity to escape in case the monster outside attacks he building we’re in, but we still don’t want to be on the first floor with the monster downstairs. Maybe I just assumed it couldn’t go up stairs or something, I’m not entirely sure.

But at one point, the monster outside began attacking our building, and we heard it shaking and the monster roaring outside. So we made our way to an elevator shaft (which for some reason was out in the open and not, you know, in an actual shaft), and started climbing down. It was weird… so let me try to describe it. Imagine that, instead of the elevator shaft being a rectangular, walled space where the elevator box goes up and down, the walls are replaced by black nets that are snug so tight theyre pretty much hugging the elevator.

And at this time, I wasn’t thinking about the monster inside the building at all, until:

“Jump,” I heard her say.

And I was like “What?”

And she said “Jump! Jump down!”

And when I looked behind me to where she was looking, THAT FREAKING MONSTER HAD CLIMBED UP ONTO A SUPPORT BEAM BESIDE THE ELEVATOR AND WAS REACHING OUT TO GRAB ME! So I’m like “SHIT!” and me and the girl jumped down and ran out of the building.

Also, I remember explaining to her, on our way out, that this is the reason we don’t go to the tops of buildings in times like this. The best option is to go to the second floor until the monster inside the building goes up, and then we try to circle around it, go downstairs, and escape. I’ve never seen a movie that did this (both a giant monster outside and a smaller, but still big and violent monster inside). 

Oh, and Mothra in her larval state was outside the door, and the girl was like “OMG WE CAN’T GO OUT!”

But I was like “No, no, it’s cool, it’s Mothra!” ‘Cause Mothra’s my baby.

So when we got outside–well, when I got outside, because suddenly it’s like the girl i was with was never there–there were a bunch of cars lined up about to flee the city, and I was with Kelly Perine (anyone remember him?) and Kevin Hart pulled up in a green minivan. So we hopped in with him and that’s when I woke up.

So… yeah… don’t know what any of it meant, but… it was pretty cool. Sadly, not as cool written down as it was experiencing it. And I forgot a lot of parts too. But, yeah… if anyone can explain this to me, please do.

Also, I really am working on that comic, I promise! I’ve been spreading myself too thin between trying to master digital coloring while drawing other pages and writing a few chapters out! And reading hella Divorcette. Follow her. She’s totally my thing right now. D:

Power in Depression

So this is probably just a piece of meaningless writing, but it’s something I’ve been thinking for a while. Really, I guess because of the late Robin Williams, I’ve decided to be a little more… vocal? To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should even post this, but in the end, decided that I “had to”. 

So forgive me. It’s a bit rambly and my wording might be hard to follow but… this is the way it came out. And really, I’m happy with it, because this is the way my heart writes. When I’m being honest and letting my feelings flow naturally, without prompt or planning.

So… Here it is:

I believe there’s a power in depression.

Typically, those who suffer from depression are easy to spot, because they tend to be the ones who seem least depressed.

That’s because these people have a gift—something bordering magic more than mere mental control. Many would notice that these people have the incredible power to turn darkness into light. Similar to a battery that can power anything but cannot feed on its own energy, these people are usually capable of adding a brilliant light to the world of those around them. And it isn’t a simple as conveniently helping only the people they can see. No, often times, these people seem to be compelled to help other people smile, whether they’re close friends or complete strangers, in sight or half a world away.

They’re usually the loudest. Often the brightest. Typically the most helpful. Seem to be the most confident and self-motivating. Maybe not the smartest, but they definitely tend to be the most witty.

And they’re addictive to be around.

Often times, these people are like a drug, and they captivate the people they draw into their lives to a degree comparable to infatuation. They’re the positive extreme of polar opposites—that person who can bring a new life to a party through loud antics and shameless self-deprecation, but can be the most silent and active listener when it’s most needed, or even when it’s not needed at all.

That’s the power that comes with depression, but it’s because these people tend to experience a constant flux between the two extremes of highs and lows that they even have this power

. Because of that seemingly endless darkness spiraling within and around their hearts, they can experience the rays of light that manage to pierce through their personal darkness to a much higher degree than someone whose heart resembles a usual sunny day (with a few scattered, but short showers here and there). And while their own heart is like a moon veiled by thick clouds that can’t touch the earth below, it can still reach out to gift a warm glow upon the mountains—those hearts of the people within their reach. But while the moon can cast a beautiful glow on everything within its reach, its power is reliant upon the sun, and that’s the flaw with depression.

The sun isn’t always there for this particular moon—

And it’s during those times when the moon ceases to be a moon as we know it and becomes a dull rock, ashamed of its own dry form. But while others may still be fascinated by the moon for continuing to be what it is: an impossibly large, distant, floating orb that’s mesmerizing even without its glow, the moon itself can’t see the beauty in itself without that glow. And while others may still speak praises of its beauty as they see it, the distant moon can’t hear the people’s praises and continues to feel shame in itself. The moon can’t control the sun’s glow, and while others may say “get over it!” or “just cheer up, it’s not that bad!” or “you have so much going for you, why are you sad?”, depression isn’t something that can be turned on and off like a light switch. No, “happiness” is a sun that burns out of its own accord—sometimes with an explosion that takes the moon’s life with it.

However, while depression is scary… it can also be beautiful.

And while these people are like a fire that can bring warmth to people seeking it, they also need care to continue burning, because the fire is always at risk of burning out when those around it turn their backs at the wrong time, for the wrong amount of time. Suddenly, the fire burns out, the warmth fades, the darkness comes, and everyone says “What? How could this happen?”

The sad truth is, while the clouded hearts of these people seem vibrant while being compelled to pierce light through its own darkness to reach the hearts of others, the darkness takes a full, choking hold when there are no other hearts to touch. When alone, sitting in a room, being consumed by thoughts the people in their everyday lives couldn’t even believe they possess.

The truth is, it’s during these times when the fire is most likely to burn out, or when the moon will lose its glow. And it’s during these times that we should try tending to that fire, or reminding the moon that it’s beautiful—even when it’s raining and we’re sure the fire is going to die anyway, or when we’re certain that our words won’t reach the moon.

We have to keep trying. Why?

Because most anyone who has such a friend who suffers from depression will know that these people are the ones who are capable of instantly giving up on themselves while continuing to push and fight for the ones they love to outwardly limitless bounds. And it all comes down to this one simple thing that resides within the clouded heart, dying flame, and dull moon…

…Something I’ve often been told by people in my own life who have confessed to suffering from depressing.

…And this one thing that I’ve often found myself saying during my own times of blinding darkness.

“I never want anyone else to feel what I feel.”

Chapter 1 (Part. 2): Kumari P. – Shameless in Seattle

Today is my “New Beginning”—

I’ve been nervous about today for a while now, especially in the past week. Not just the new school year, but the first year of high school, in a new school, a few states away from my home town.  Everything is new, but what frightens me the most are the changes I’ve decided to make to myself.

The new “me” that I’ve decided to become.

The clock hanging on the living room wall says 4:26a.m. Despite the darkness, I can clearly see the clock’s hands and numbers. The thunder roars and I look up to the large window spanning the length of the living room’s wall. It’s been raining for two days now, and I guess today won’t be any different from the last two.

“Hey, Kumari.” I hear my sister’s voice chiming in, barely audible above the rainfall against the window. “You’re up early.”

“I didn’t really sleep.”

When I turn to face her, I see her approaching me from down the hall with her planned outfit draped over her right shoulder. Past the stairs leading down into the living room, my sister, Amber’s room, is on the right side, same as mine. The door is open with light from her lamp flooding into the hallway and climbing the opposite wall.

“What’s wrong? Are you nervous, or were you too excited to sleep?” She crosses her arms and cocks her head to the side with a sly smirk. “Today is a big day for you.”

Because of that, her pale skin, white gown, and shoulder-length black hair, she looks like a ghost sauntering out of a passage to heaven.

“Well you, too,” I snap back, managing to keep my voice down. “You’re skipping 8th grade straight into high school. You actually slept well last night?”

“Like a baby,” she answers, stopping in front of me to lean against the rail. “I’m not worried about these kids out here.”

I’m not exactly trying to, but I know I’m frowning at her. To save face, I sigh and turn my attention back to the window while leaning fully on the rail.

Amber’s always been this way. So cocky, smooth, and abrasive. She has a way of puffing herself up and making everyone else around her seem trivial. Even now, having lived with her for 13 years of my life—the entire 13 years she’s been alive—I’m still not quite used to it. I can handle it, sure, but there are times that it gets to me.

…Shamefully, it may be because I’ve always envied her attitude in a way.

“Well I’m not exactly worried about them. I’m worried about me,” I somehow find the courage to admit. “Remember when I said I plan on changing myself?”

“Yeah, I remember. Today’s the day?”

“Yup. I’ve got a lot planned, so if you need to shower and stuff, you can go first. I’m gonna be a while,” I explain, now turning to face her while managing to force a shrug and smile.

“Well, alright,” she groans while nudging herself away from the rail to walk past me. “Oh, by the way—”

She suddenly stops, just inches away from me, and rests her hand on my shoulder. Looking into my eyes with an intense, almost worried expression, she frowns a little.

“Try not to get too riled up. You’re doing that glowy-eye thing again.”

“Huh? I didn’t even notice—”

“Yeah,” she continues with a teasing smile. “It’s not a big deal for me or Dad to see it, but don’t let Mom find out.” She advises before tapping my shoulder twice and walking past me, to the bathroom.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath to calm down. I suppose that’s why I could see the hands on the clock so clearly, even in near total darkness. After a few moments, I turn my eyes to the living room—more specifically, the clock hanging on the living room wall beneath the window.

Besides the general shape and white background of the clock itself, I can’t make anything out. Not even the numbers. As it should have been all along.

Damn it…  I still can’t control it. I’ll have to be even more careful at school.

After a few seconds of staring at the clock to make sure the crystal-clear vision doesn’t return, I make my way back to my room with a sign.

“Right. Well, let’s go pick out an outfit,” I groan to myself.

—It’s been at least 30 minutes now since Amber began showering, and I’ve been going through my closet this entire time, trying to find something to wear.

“That won’t work…” I mutter, sliding the yellow shirt to the left.

It’s funny, I used to not care about things like this. Maybe because, up until last summer, everything in my closet was black. I struggled every day to blend into the shadows, hiding behind my clothes and black hair to keep anyone from noticing me. But instead, I got the opposite reaction and often found myself being singled out and ridiculed for being reclusive, reticent, and weird. My social anxiety was so bad that I often stuttered horribly when made to speak to anyone outside of my family, and it sadly still comes out when I’m panicked.

“Come on, what looks good with red…?”

I spent most of the summer practicing speaking out loud in the mirror, which—let me tell you—was one of the most embarrassing and scariest things I’ve ever done. Possibly because I know what my goals and flaws are, I couldn’t help but notice the “what are you doing/who do you think you’re fooling/this isn’t you” look in my own eyes as I spoke. But after a few months, it got better…

“…What looks good with red?”

Finally, after a moment of staring, I lean back with my eyes focused on what seems to be the perfect outfit.

“Hey, Kumari, I’m done,” I hear Amber behind me, leaning into the room from the doorframe. “Your turn.”

Just in time… This’ll be perfect.

—I’ve been thinking this over for months now, and decided I can’t back out on this.

While looking at myself in the mirror one day, wearing a set of my new clothes, I decided it might not be enough. If I’m going to be a new me, then I need to stand out. I need to stand out even when I don’t want to. No, especially when I don’t want to. That’s the only way I can call myself a different person.

So…

“Hey, Amber, come here a sec,” I shout, stepping out of the bathroom and drying my hair off.

This will be the first test.

After a few seconds, I see Amber making her way from the kitchen, to the right of the stairs, coming up to meet me. Finally, after making it up, she turns to approach me.

“Yeah, what is it—oh, I like your shirt.”

“Thanks, do you think it’ll look good with red?”

“Uhm… I mean, I guess so. Red and baby blue can go together, but—”

Before she can complete her sentence, I flip the towel down and let my hair fall over my shoulders.

Rather than the screaming respond I’d expected, Amber stands in silence, staring at me. Her eyes travel up and down the length of my hair, her mouth hanging open as if she’d just seen someone get hit by a train. She frowns, tilts her head, and studies me like I’m a winged cat or something.

“So? What do you think?” I question, cutting into the silence.

“Your hair!” She finally exclaims. “You dyed it!?”

“Uh-huh!” I answer with a nod. “Candy Apple Red!”

“It’s not a wig?!” Before I can react, she reaches out and yanks a few of the strands.

“Ah—no!” I slap her hand away and pull back, holding onto the strands she just pulled. “It’s my actual hair!”

“Why!? Why’d you dye it!?”

“To stand out!” I argue. “Quit acting like that, are you trying to make me feel bad or something!?”

“I—” She suddenly stops, takes a deep breath with her hand held out as if telling me to wait, and then calmly continues. “—do they know?”

“Dad knows. He’s the one who took me to get the stuff I needed,” I explain, crossing my arms and holding my composure.

“Mom’s gonna flip sh—”

“— I know, I know, but Dad said he’ll help me talk her down,” I interrupt. ‘Besides, I had to do this.”

Adjusting my hair so that it falls behind my back, I turn to lean over the rail and look ahead to the window. It’s still raining, but it’s a little brighter outside now.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m tired of hiding and trying to be invisible. I want people to notice me. I want to matter. I want to…” I pause for a moment, trying to find the right words. And somehow, “…be a whole person, for once,” is what comes out.

To be honest, I expect her to laugh. Knowing Amber, something like “that’s stupid” or “dying your hair won’t change who you are” is what I expect.

But…

“I see…”

“Huh?” I turn to face her and notice that she’s taken a spot next to me, leaning against the rail, our arms almost touching.

“I get it. Maybe this is the best way for you,” she says, her voice low as she faces me. “You were always hiding behind your hair. Now, even if you try to hide behind it, you’ll still stick out.”

“Hah, yeah, that’s the plan,” I answer, feeling embarrassed that even she noticed the way I used my long hair and the bangs I grew out to hide myself.

“Looks like you’re even letting your big forehead and bushy eyebrows show now, huh?” She jokes while resting her palm on my forehead.

“I figured it’d be pointless if I hid the parts of myself I don’t like, right?”

“That’s right. Look at you, growing up.”

“…Well that’s not something you wanna hear from your little sister,” I mutter.

“We’re a year apart, it’s not that big a deal,” she giggles, pulling her hand back. “Does that mean you’ll be standing up for yourself now, or am I gonna have to almost get expelled again?”

Hah, that’s right.

I used to get picked on a lot more before Amber graduated elementary and started going to my middle school. She got into fights with a lot of the girls who picked on me because I was too afraid to defend myself. She got suspended so much that they threatened to expel her and I had no choice but to at least attempt to take up for myself, just to keep her from getting expelled.

“Well, it’s not like I couldn’t handle anyone who tries to bully me, right?” I answer, finding myself feeling a little uneasy.

“But that’s always been the case.”

“I guess I just don’t like hurting people, and if I end up going too far, I might—”

“You won’t go too far,” she cuts in, her hand on my shoulder. “But if you don’t do anything at all, you’ll be exactly who you were last year and every year before that.”

I sigh, having no choice but to accept that.

“You’re right. If it comes down to it, I might have to get into a fight,” I say out loud, as if to reassure myself of this reality.

“Yup. And with hair like that, you’ll most likely attract some negative attention.” Suddenly, she turns somber. “But, you know, just…don’t…”

“…Don’t worry about these kids out here?” I mock her, trying to liven the mood.

“Hah, Now you got it,” she exclaims while slapping my arm. “C’mon, we gotta get going! I didn’t put on these boots to be late on the first day!”

She turns and makes her way back to the stairs, skipping proudly in her new black boots and floral green dress. Chuckling, I follow behind her.

“By the way, think you can carry me to the bus stop? Just ’cause I look good in heels doesn’t mean I like them.”

“No way. I’m not about to carry you, your backpack, and my backpack,” answer, following her down the stairs. “If I have to get used to this hair, you have to get used to wearing heels.”

“Jerk. And after everything I’ve done for you,” she says, sounding almost hurt.

“You’ll be alright.”

No remorse. I have to admit, it feels nice. Maybe it’s this new “fiery redhead” persona, but I’m feeling different already. I’ll just have to make sure I don’t “go mad with power” and become an actual jerk.

But, if it’s Amber, I don’t have to restrain myself too much.

—The rest of the morning goes about how I expected.

“Oh my God!” Mom’s reaction was what I expected Amber’s to be. “What did you do!?”

“I—”

“It’s a wig, right!?” Without warning, Mom reaches out to grab my hair.

Luckily, thanks to my earlier experience with Amber, I manage to take a step back and narrowly avoid her fingertips, keeping my hair out of reach. I don’t care how surprised she is, it hurts having your hair pulled.

“How did you—when did you get hair dye!?”

“A few days ago,” I answer, finding myself somehow composed.

“And who gave you permission to—Walter,” she cuts herself off, growling to turn and look at Dad who, despite his much larger size, turns to avoid her glare, obviously grinning at her outrage. “You didn’t think you should have told me about this?”

“What? So you could yell at her and scare her out of being herself?”

“I’m not yelling at her!”

“You kind of are though,” Amber chimes in from beside me.

You stay out of it. You were in on this, too, weren’t you!”

“No! I found out this morning, too! If I knew, I would’ve talked her into dying it green or something,” Amber taunts with a grin, as if trying to further provoke Mom’s rage. “You know, to match my eyes. She could be my walking accessory.”

“Nice,” I growl and glare at Amber, who smiles back at me and shrugs shamelessly. “Look, Mom, I’m sorry, but we’re gonna miss the bus if we stay and talk about it. But I’ll tell you everything after school, okay?”

Practically blurting that out, I begin my hasty retreat, backing out of the kitchen toward the front door in the living room.

“…Fine. You’re going to tell me everything,” Mom answers, sounding a little more calm but still just as irritated. “Be back by 6pm. That’s your new curfew.”

What!?” Now it’s Amber’s turn to be outraged. “Curfew!? Do we look like kids to you!?”

…And we almost made it out of here in one piece, too…

Excuse me?” Mom crosses her arms to challenge her.

From over Mom’s shoulder, Dad glances at me with eyes that seem to say “why didn’t you stop her?” From behind Amber, I look back at him and shrug, using body language to say “What was I supposed to do?”

“We are not about to have this fight right now,” Mom barks, her chest puffing up like a dog ready to fight.

“I didn’t skip a grade for nothing! Why do I still have a curfew!?”

Not really knowing what else to do, and still being directed by dad to do something, I put on my hoodie and open the front door.

“Amber, we can talk about this when we get home. We’re gonna be late if you have this fight now,” I explain while pushing Amber’s coat to her chest.

She growls, but ultimately understands, muttering under her breath while putting the coat on.

“I can’t stand this house!” Amber shouts on her way out, making sure to get the last word.

I sigh, turning to face Mom and Dad from the other side of the door.

“We’ll be home by 6pm and I’ll explain the hair, Mom. Love you,” I say, trying to ease the tension with a gentle smile and wave.

“Have a good day, Honeypot,” Dad responds, lifting his cup of coffee in a “cheers” motion.

“Love you, too,” Mom resentfully says. “Tell your sister she’s in so much trouble when she gets back. And so are you, Crabhead.”

“Ah—” I can’t tell if she’s joking or not. That wasn’t a joking tone, and she didn’t smile either. “Hah—right. Uhm… See ya.”

I close the door, lock it, and rest my forehead against it.

If this is how today’s starting, I’m in for a long one…

“C’mon, we gotta go!” I can barely hear Amber’s voice over the downpour. When I look back, she’s standing on the sidewalk, far out from the porch where I’m standing. “This rain’s gonna ruin my dress!”

I roll my eyes before putting my hood up and running down the steps and driveway to meet her. Once beside her, I let my hood down to share her umbrella. The bus stop, from what I remember, is about a 15 minute walk from our house, and the time is now 6:04a.m. I didn’t get to work as thoroughly on my hair as I’d have liked to in the hour that I had, so I plan on finishing the job after school—of course, after explaining to Mom why I dyed it.

“This new year’s gonna suck,” she complains. “Curfew. Seriously? 6pm? Most babies don’t even get put to bed until 8!”

“I really doubt parents are letting their babies roam the streets until 8pm,” I chuckle. “By the way, she said you’re in trouble when you get home.”

“No, she’s in trouble when I get home,” Amber snaps back. “I’ll give her a curfew.”

…Often times, I’m pretty sure Mom regrets how much Amber takes after her.

“Right. Well, I guess it’ll take the heat off of my new hair if nothing else,” I shrug.

“I can’t believe her,” she continues muttering, more to herself than to me. “6pm. No way it’s going down like that.”

With Amber complaining the entire way, we begin our trip to the bus stop.

Today will be the start of the new me. The new Kumari Price. And I’ll admit, beneath this mask of snarky bravado, I’m trembling.

More than anything… I want to finally make a friend this year.

A real friend.

Looseleaf Chapter– Maybe Someday

“I hate this,” she says, her voice shaking. “Why can’t I just be fucking happy.”

It’s the first time I’d ever seen her be honest. Ever seen her be vulnerable. And the first time since I’d known her, that I can’t think of something to say. Some witty retort. Some light-hearted joke. Or even an insightful comment. I can’t think of a single thing.

So here, beside the roaring ocean waves, I stand silent and listen to her.

“I want to hate him. I wish I could hate him, but I don’t know how.” She almost sounds like she wants to laugh. “Maybe because he just seemed so perfect.”

I quietly watch her back—hands in her pockets and her hair tossing in the wind.

“He seemed so perfect… Someone who was just like me. Someone who had been hurt, just like I was. Who seemed to understand how important friendship was… who shared the same dorky interests as me. Who could be just as untrusting and guarded against people as me… yet somehow found a way into my heart, and somehow managed to let me into his…

Goddamnit… And my dumbass never saw the signs.”

Her voice cracks a little more. Her shoulders heave—noticeable even with her sleeves wavering in the moonlit gust.

“He always complained about being abandoned. How his friends always left him behind, and how he felt like he couldn’t trust anyone to be there for him. And I wanted so desperately to prove him wrong. So I stayed, even when left me. I stayed, even when I was hurt because the moment he found someone he wanted to be with, he disappeared. And when I dared tell him how hurt I was, he told me I didn’t have the right to feel hurt…”

She bites her bottom lip, staring out into the ocean.

“So I should be happy… I’m finally free… so I should be happy…”

She kneels down and picks up a rock, her trembling hand nearly dropping it as she stands back up.

“I have a nice family, I’m doing okay in school, and I even have a friend like you to come out here and listen to me be crazy, complaining about shit that shouldn’t even matter, so…” She grips the rock tightly and then, as hard as she can, chucks it over the ocean. “Why the fuck can’t I just shut up and be happy!?!?”

She turns to me, tears in her eyes and her face burning red with anger.

“What the fuck is my problem!? Why can’t I just hate him!! I gave him everything I had and he left me! I gave him my time, my heart, my body—fucking everything!! I cried for him all the time and he treated me like shit the second he stopped needing me! He made me hate myself, every fucking day!” She stops to catch her breath, panting like an antelope that just narrowly escaped being eaten.

She stops and laughs, half-heartedly, as if she’d just told a joke she knew no one else would find funny.

 “And then he called me out to see him when he was lonely, and my dumb-ass went, even when I knew he would just ignore me the whole time to talk to his new lover on the phone! And now look at me, hating myself again!”

She growls picks up another rock, gripping it so firmly that her hand turns red.

“And no matter how much I cuss, and scream, and break shit, it’ll never be enough to express how angry, and hurt, and horrible I feel!” She throws the rock with everything she has. “Goddamnit!!!”

She falls to her knees and claws at the sand—angrily, desperately, as if trying to find something buried that could be the answer to everything.

“Why am I so goddamn stupid!? Why do I fuck everything up!? Why can’t I just be happy!!”

She keeps digging.

“Why!?”

And clawing.

“Why!?!?”

And scraping.

“What the fuck is wrong with me!?”

…And I don’t know what else to do. So I kneel down in front of her.

“What?! You think I’m crazy, right!? You’re gonna tell me I’m crazy! Go ahead! I know I’m crazy! I don’t give a damn what you think!!”

…And I don’t know what else to do… So…

“Tell me I’m crazy! Say it! Go ahead and say it!”

…I pull her into an embrace. The only thing I can offer.

“What are you doing…? I’m crazy, so… you can’t…”

I hold onto her, almost desperately, as if she could slip away any second and disappear forever.

“…You can’t save me…”

And I feel her shivering in my arms, stuttering, and trying to speak through broken breath.

“I-I’m just—I can’t—”

And I feel myself shaking.

“I can’t—”

…Maybe because I understand… all too well.

“You’re not crazy,” I find myself whispering. “You’re just… You really loved him. And he never understood…”

I feel her fingers gripping my back. Her tears staining my shoulder. Her quaking breaths against my collarbone.

“I tried so hard… I did everything I could… Why  can’t I just be enough…?”

I don’t know what to say.

I wish to God I knew what to say, but I don’t. I can’t tell her how special she is. I can’t tell her how important she is. I can’t tell her how much she matters, because I know that it won’t be enough to express how important, and special, and ‘worth it’ I honestly believe she is.

…No, I can’t say anything because I know words won’t be enough to make her understand any of that…

…So I hold her instead.

“Why can’t I be good enough…?”

—One day, she’ll understand. One day, she’ll know how special she is.

But until then…

I can’t be what she wants. I can’t be what he was to her. I can’t be what she wants, but I can be what she needs—a real friend, to be here, and help to pick up the pieces of her shattered heart. Here, beside the tossing waves, I hold under until I feel her grip weaken and her heaving breaths calm. 

And for what it’s worth, hopefully, she’ll get a glimpse of how much she really does matter when she wakes up to see that I’m still here.

That I stayed.

Finally beginning

Finally posted that first chapter!
I’ve been excited about this for a while. After writing for SEVERAL years now, full of countless rewrites and idea changes, I’m finally ready to begin.
I plan to be consistent and full of content, while myself enjoying the stories written by other authors here.
I’ve currently been reading Magelife. I’m hoping to find other stories, but I’ve been having a tough time locating them.
Anyway, let’s enjoy the journey together! 😋

Chapter 1 (Part. 1): Chloe S. – Sardonic in Seattle

“Ah—!” I wake up, gasping for breath.

My chest is on fire and everything feels hot. My head is pounding like someone’s been stabbing at my temples all night. Doing my best to stop my thoughts, I struggle to calm down. Breathing silently, yet heavily, I check my eyes.

No tears this time.

I must be getting better, I find myself thinking.

After sitting up in bed, I habitually pick up my phone and push the home button. The usual lock screen is there—the background is a picture of a river, and the time is clearly visible. 5:30a.m.

No texts. No missed calls. It’s been almost a month now.

‘Bout what I expected, I think while standing up and tossing my phone over my shoulder, onto the bed.

Another day, huh?

Let me explain something about “heartbreak”. There are some obvious things, and some not so obvious things. So let’s start with the obvious:

It sucks.

Holy crap, it sucks. And not only does it suck, but it sucks for a long-ass time. It’s not like stubbing your toe—a sharp, awful sting that goes away after a few breaths. No, heartbreak feels more like drowning. It’s horrible, draining, and desperate—but then sometimes you manage to catch a breath and it stops hurting for a moment—and then you’re plunged into the deep by another wave, struggling and teetering between wanting to fight for life and wanting to give up and die to end the pain.

You go crazy. You get desperate. And much like an actual drowning victim, you tend to drag down anyone who reaches out to help you.

Now, the not so obvious thing:

You don’t just wake up one day and get over it. Sure, that sounds obvious, but what isn’t so obvious is what you are looking for. One day, you’ll wake up from a dream about that person, or a sudden memory, or perhaps a song on the radio you two used to hear together—and your world will crumble. Your heart will hurt, your chest will burn, your throat will tighten, and your eyes will water. For a moment, you’ll feel like you’re dying—or perhaps wish you were.

But after a few moments of accepting that you’re hurting, you’ll get up, get ready for your day, and step out of the house. Of course, the pain will still be there, but you’ll manage to smile, talk, and laugh like it’s not. You’ll experience the pain for fractions of your day instead of the entire day.

Look for that.

“It’s been weeks, what the hell? Are we just strangers now?” Muttering to myself after my long shower, I stare at my toothbrush before brushing my teeth.

After everything we went through together, what, are you just done with me now?

Violently as I can, I spit the toothpaste into the sink and turn the water on full blast.

“Like I give a damn. I had a life before you. I can live after you, too!”

Also, look for the anger. When you can move past the crippling sadness into that empowering angry stage of heartbreak, you’ve truly begun to heal.

“I hope she gives you herpes!” I shout nonsense before rinsing my mouth out, as if it will burn away the foul words still wanting to escape my mouth.

—Well, you’re either at the beginning stages of healing or becoming a murderer. Either way, that’s some kind of progress. Better than being stuck in place, right?

I spit again. “Idiot.”

It’s been raining for three days straight now—

Having finally gotten dressed by 6:00a.m., I make my way to the front door and open it. Before actually stepping out, I look back at the hallway, with the kitchen barely a silhouette in the distance.  Dad hasn’t gotten up yet. Since he doesn’t work until around noon, I usually leave the house before he wakes up and am usually in bed before he gets home. As a result, despite living in the same house, we hardly see each other.

“Have a good day,” I whisper to no one in particular before stepping out and closing the door behind me. “Later”.

The sky is veiled in a thick, rolling sheet of grey. With the sun risen high enough to claim its territory, the pitch black world is now various shades of grey and blue. The street, sidewalk, and houses are all tinted blue by the dim sunlight, and the grass is almost a deep purple. It’s like the entire law of color in this world has been rewritten by a five-year old.

“Know what? I’m sick of this ‘early morning to the bus stop’ crap,” I grumble, staring out into the rain from the safety of the awning. “If I don’t get a car by next year, I’m dropping out and leaching off Dad from the comfort of my room.”

It’s not like my empty threats will solve anything, but they do help me feel better for the moment. And as if to answer me, a bright flash blinds me for an instant and the sky roars with a fury that shakes the earth.

“Oh, shut up, you don’t even know him,” I argue back, looking to the sky. “He’ll be thanking me when he’s too old to take care of himself and my broke ass is still living here to take care of him. Hmph!”

Feeling somewhat proud of myself for challenging the Almighty God, I pull my hood up over my head and step off of the porch. And maybe I’m crazy or just imagining things but… did the rain just get heavier?

“…Okay, okay, I get it already… I should watch what I say,” I mutter, now completely soaked in the 10 minutes I’ve been walking down the sidewalk. “Can you let up just a little?”

The thunder roars again—a little more silent, a little more distant.

“Bastard.”

Is it possible to have a midlife crisis at 15?

The same sun and moon every day and night. A boring world. At first, this rain was a break in the monotony of endless sunny days, but even it’s become a cut and paste production now.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but…

Puddles in the same place. The same cars speeding by on their way to work, splashing water onto the sidewalks. The same people sitting on their front porches, performing whatever morning routines crazy people even do on rainy mornings. Seeing the same thing every day has gifted me the ability to acknowledge and avoid things without even looking, as if I can see into the future. Like finding cheat codes to the world through observation.

“Hm?” But when I look ahead from the wet pavement, I see something of an anomaly.

A U-Haul truck backed into a driveway, in a neighborhood that hasn’t had anyone new move in for years now. The house is beautiful—white and blue—with a large front yard and a backyard that’s possibly equally beautiful. Two floors and a large window that takes up the entire length of the living room wall and half its height from the ceiling down.

The woman who initially lived in that house was said to have a fetish for sunshine and had half the wall broken down to install an insanely large window. So when she started suddenly drawing her curtains and boarding up her windows, it wasn’t too much of a surprise to find out she suffered depression and decided to kill herself.

…Well, “surprise” isn’t the right word for it.

The entire neighborhood, full of gossip, knew something was wrong before the hammer dropped. Still, it’s a beautiful house. Probably cheap now, too. These people probably don’t even know the woman’s folks came to claim the last of her stuff just last week.

—6:30a.m. My usual time of arrival.

Finally, after 20 more minutes of walking, the bus stop is in view. The bus stop is normally vacant when I get here, but there’s another anomaly. Before arriving, barely visible in the mist and rain, I see two people sitting on a bench beneath its glass shelter. And upon arriving at the bench, I see that they’re two girls—one with jet black hair, and the other with abnormally, deep red hair. The raven-haired girl is almost eerily pale while the other is the opposite, having golden brown skin. Perhaps Mexican or some Middle Eastern descent?

Keeping to myself, I take a seat at the edge of the bench, next to them.

“We’re high schoolers now,” the pale girl exclaims. “What does she mean ‘curfew’? Who does she think she’s talking to? Does she know who I am?”

“Depends on who you are,” the red-head answers, her attention buried in a book she’s reading.

“The girl who skipped 8th grade to get into high school year early! I didn’t bust hump the last two years to get slapped with a curfew like a chump!” She protests. “I should call them,” she continues, already sounding exhausted.

“Maybe she’s worried you’ll go out and… I don’t know, get pregnant or something?”

“Hah! Like 9th grade boys even know how to get a girl pregnant!”

I think that would be the problem exactly, actually…

“Remember Megan last year? She got pregnant in 8th grade,” the redhead says, finally putting her book down to give the girl her full attention.

“Her boyfriend was a 10th grader…” Her voice is low and bitter.

“No, she got pregnant during the previous summer break, so her boyfriend was technically still a 9th grader,” the redhead clarifies.

“Making the transition to 10th grade though!”

“So what? Boys just wake up one day over summer break and know what ovaries do?” She challenges.

What kind of conversation is this?

“Kumari, look, you’ve only had one boyfriend your whole life,” the black-haired girl says, suddenly trying to sound more mature, compassionate—sarcastically sympathetic. “And I doubt you two even hugged.”

“What’s—” And the redhead, Kumari, gasps. Flustered and taken aback. “That has nothing to do with—!”

“So how would you know what 9th grade boys know about sex?”

“I—! Shut up!”

“Unless I’m wrong and you know more than you let on,” the girl teases, leaning uncomfortable close to the redhead. “Is that why you’re so embarrassed?”

“Amber, I’ll hit you! I’m still your big sister, even if we are in the same grade now!”

The black-haired girl, Amber, giggles and sits back.

Anyway, I know how pregnancy works, even if they don’t. I’m not worried, so why should Mom and Dad?”

“I’m sure they’d worry even more if they knew about you coming into my room, freaking out because you thought talking to a boy on the phone made your period late,” Kumari says beneath her breath with a chuckle.

I can’t help but turn my head and stifle a laugh myself.

“I was ten,” Amber growls.

Really? That was last summer. You grew three years in one?”

“You know what?” Amber finally retaliates after a few moments silence. “I don’t have time for you right now. The bus is here and my new adult life is on it.”

Saying so with full confidence, the girl hops up onto her feet and lifts her backpack from the bench. I hear the city bus closing in from the distance before squeaking to a stop in front of us. Following behind the redhead, whose sister has already gotten onto the bus and paid, I’m anxious to get out of the rain.

Gotta say, this is definitely one of the most interesting mornings I’ve had…

“Good morning, Chloe,” the bus driver says with a smile.

“What’s so good about it,” I sigh while paying my fare. “Did you know it started raining harder the moment I stepped off the porch this morning? Like, what the heck?”

“Did you deserve it?” He questions with a grin.

“Probably, but what happened to the whole ‘turn the other cheek’ thing?”

“I guess that works if you follow Christianity, but I believe in the Hindu concept of Karma, Ms. Sanders.”

I groan, turning to take my usual seat at the back of the bus.

“Then maybe this is what I get for complaining about having too much sunlight in Seattle,” I remark. I hear him chuckling behind me as the bus shifts into gear.

I find myself taking a seat right behind the two girls from the bench. They must go to the same school as me. Putting my earbuds in for the trip, and striving to enjoy at least the next 30 minutes of solitude, I close my eyes and lean my head against the window as the bus begins to roll.

First day of sophomore year… If Karma really does exist, then this year should be more interesting than last year.

Fun with Side Characters

This is going to be a long article, because making side characters fun has always been a big, big thing to me. Because, when it comes down to it, a main character shouldn’t have to stand on their own. And in the best cases, sub-characters can become more popular than the main characters.

“Ensemble Darkhorse”.

How cool would be be to have a character who either:

1. Isn’t as important to the story as the main character?

2. Doesn’t have nearly as many, or as powerful abilities as the main character(s) (In a superhero/paranormal/action story)?

3. Doesn’t get nearly as much screentime as the main character(s)?

The answer is: VERY. Know why?

Because if you can have a side character who’s just as interesting, if not more interesting, than the main character, then that means YOU have created a very interesting character who will add more dept to your story as a whole.

Basically, the easy trap to fall in is that side characters are there because the real world has more than one person in it. People have friends, and there are other people around to talk to (unless you’re a total recluse), so in following real life and making one’s story more “relatable”, you toss in a bunch of guys and gals and say “YEAH, FLESHED OUT STORY!” But all these characters do is drop in and out to talk to your main character, but they fall flat because their personalities are either deviations of the main characters personality, or don’t genuinely have a personality of their own and just agree with whatever the main character says.

But that’s NOT the way to do it.

Side characters don’t just exist for the main character to bounce ideas off of, or to make comments (yay or nay) about the main character. When it comes down to it, these people are PEOPLE–main, side, and other. They all have their own histories, unique experiences, thoughts, opinions, ups, and downs. Don’t fall into the trap of making side characters who only pop in when it’s convenient for the main character.

Think of it this way–

You have friends, right? Probably? Well, why are you friends with them? What kind of benefits or inconveniences do they bring into your life? When you meet up, are you the only subject you talk about? Of course not (I hope)! You have friends because they add a certain depth to your life that you otherwise wouldn’t have if you weren’t friends with them. There are things you probably wouldn’t have experienced, places you wouldn’t have gone, and thoughts you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t friends with that person. And no two people can bring the same experiences into your life, and in turn, you add depth to their lives as well.

That’s what side characters are! Added depth!

Have you ever gotten bored writing about your main character all the time?

Character A does this and thinks like this. So when you write new scenarios about Character A you know how it’s going to go, because you know how Character A thinks and what Character A would do. That gets boring, both for you and your audience, because it becomes repetitive.

Now, what if Character B comes in?

A big test is coming up and Character A hasn’t studied. Well, typically, Character A would take the test and fail. So Character A talks to Character B.

Character A: The test is tomorrow and I’m gonna bomb it, I just know it…

Character B: You have’t studied at all?
Character A: No, I’ve been…distracted…

Character B. Well… you could try cramming 5 weeks of studying into tonight.

Character A: …What!?

Character B: Yeah, do it all in one go! And don’t sleep! That way, when you take the test tomorrow, you’ll remember everything! That’s how I get my A’s!

So now, Character A has this thought to cram his/her studies into one night. That’s not something Character A would normally do, but that’s what Character B does. And because Character A consulted Character B, this becomes a new possibility for Character A!

But then…

Character C: Well, you could cheat this time…

Character A: …WHAT?

Character C: I got a copy of the answer sheet for the test tomorrow. I could lend it to you, if you want.

Character A: Uhm…

Character C: Or you could stay up all night studying, pass out mid-test tomorrow, and fail anyway because you’re too tired to stay awake. It’s your choice, really.

Character A: Well I’d hate to stay up all night studying to just fail anyway…

Character C: Right, so just borrow this tonight and remember to study next time. I don’t know what’s been distracting you lately, but it can’t be worth the stress you’re going through now.

Character A: Heh, you’d be surprised…

Character C: Well, if it would make you consult a delinquent like me, it must be a pretty big distraction, huh?

So now the monotony is broken up. Will Character A do what they would normally do, or go with the advice of either B or C? Makes it fun for the audience, and for you, the writer.

But there’s more to it than that! Because there’s more than just the main character in this story. Side characters can also talk to eachother, or have their own individual circles of friends, apart from Character A and the general group character A hangs out with.

But more on that later, because it’s late, and holy crap I’m tired.

So here’s an exercise!

Wanna flesh out one of your side characters who feels boring? Give ’em a backstory! What was their childhood like? What did they grow up doing? Have they experienced any significant losses or gains in life that shaped who they are? What do they typically do in their spare time? What are their dreams and goals? You know why Character A became friends with them, but why did they decide to become friends with Character A?

DON’T let your main character be the only one you spend significant time on. Treat EVERY character as if they were meant to carry their own story. Make it so that the “camera” could follow ANY of your characters around and the story would be JUST as interesting, if not more so. After all, in someone else’s life, you’re either just a side character, or a background character they pass by on the street. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have your own story to tell, right?

Think of these things! Get detailed! Turn your character into a person! And remember to have fun! 😀