I won’t spoil anything but writing the villain in Pierced Peony gave me nightmares. Mostly because as always, I worried about making the villain a caricature. I prefer even the not so good characters to feel like real people.
For better or worse, I want my characters to feel like people you could meet in real life.
The scariest villains, in my opinion, are ones who seem like real people. Someone who could live next door to you—but hopefully doesn’t because, you know. My neighbour the murderer wouldn’t be the best surprise, would it?
I mean, in a book in might, not necessarily in my day to day life.
As with any good mystery, Motts’s journey to finding the villain in Pierced Peony isn’t straightforward. There were surprises for her (and for myself.) Overall though, I’m pleased with the result.
The ‘redacted for spoilers’ scene in the fishery warehouse is probably one of my all-time favourite moments to write for Motts so far.
It was also my least favourite scene to write, mostly because of how difficult it was to get right.
Motts is a unique character. It’s not always easy to get her voice perfect in the first draft. And as an autistic character, I work extra hard to ensure she’s authentically herself.
As an autistic author, I definitely put all of my heart and soul into my autistic characters.
The ‘redacted’ scene had to show danger, fear, and panic. It was critical to write from the perspective of an autistic. Our experiences can often be quite different from neurotypicals from what I’ve seen.
By the final draft of Pierced Peony, I felt as if I’d done the fishery scene justice. I’d shown Motts’s experience as well as I could on paper. It felt visceral to me and I hope to everyone else who reads it.
Every novel has moments within that were incredibly difficult to get perfect. Maybe it’s the scene itself. Or, perhaps the words aren’t flowing well. I wanted to share three from Pierced Peony that I found especially hard.
The first is the doll scene. I won’t give too many details to avoid spoilers. But, you’ll know the doll scene when you get to it.
This one was hard because I wanted the reader to have an almost visceral reaction to it. The difficult part was make sure I didn’t go overboard. There was a delicate line between creepy and caricature.
I wanted the reader to turn the page and be able to almost feel like they’d been in the room with Motts.
Second? The freezer scene. Again…spoilers. This one was difficult because writing dangerous moments don’t always come naturally to me. Banter is something I find easy.
Danger? Not so much. The freezer scene was written…deleted…written…deleted a number of times. I did finally get the vibe I wanted, though.
The final scene that I struggled with? The ending. I won’t give anything away. But I knew how I wanted Pierced Peony to conclude and it was incredibly important to do it justice.