Giving Your Characters the Gift of Forgiveness

Christmas is the season of forgiveness, but I’m here to tell you it’s not easy. Take a look at any social media network and you’ll find groups of people who are offended by everything from skin color to use of a certain phrase. While I am first to preach tolerance, there are some things that seem pretty unforgivable!

For example, I am not sure I can forgive LeAnn Rimes for butchering one of my favorite songs. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” was fine just the way it was. There was certainly no reason for her to add a country twang and double the pace.

Another example of something that seems unforgivable is when someone tells a lie that involves my kids. Treat me like crap if you must, but please do not drag my boys into it. They are not angels by any stretch, but they are my angels and nobody’s going to lie about them.

And finally, let’s talk about pictures of me on social media. I’m not a huge fan. It’s taken me six years since first creating my Facebook account to be comfortable enough to post a selfie. When I find other people have posted them, I have a little meltdown bemoaning all my flaws to my husband, who patiently and lovingly suffers through it. Every. Single. Time. (Because after all, the photo on my book jacket will be much more flattering.)

Now that I’ve given some examples of seemingly unforgivable acts, look at them from the point of view of a character in a book.

  • A musician hears a remake of his song on the radio, and plots his revenge.
  • A neighbor lies about kids traipsing through her flower beds to hide the fact that a feral cat colony living in the crawlspace under her home is the real culprit.
  • A photographer posts a photo of a political figure online acting suspicious to social media and, as a result, winds up stalked by members of the mafia.

In each of the above situations, the character wields quite a bit of power. They can forgive or not, and that will weigh heavily on the outcome of your story. Just like whether or not I forgive people will affect the outcome of my story. I’m trying to come to terms with the second and third items on my list, but LeAnn Rimes will never hold a candle to Gayla Peevey when it comes to my favorite Christmas song!

Have you given your characters the chance to forgive anyone? Were any of their situations inspired by things in your life? Let’s chat about it in the comments section below!


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