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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Theme Song for a Broken Man

Lindzey Eric MacKenzie, the man whose name I can never spell the same way twice.

He is the quintessential broken man. Five years ago, Mac had everything. The job, the friends, the respect that everyone craves. He lost those friends in an ambush, and lost everything else to PTSD and a pill addiction.

I have trouble getting in Mac's head some days. I have three books planned out for the Jane Doe series: Jane Doe, Jane's Shadow, and Chasing Jane. And it's hard for me to remember that Mac doesn't start out as an easy-going, smart-mouthed guy. That's where he ends.

When JANE DOE opens he's a stuttering, strung out, pill addict who is the butt every office joke. He isolated himself out of guilt and grief, and then was ostracized because of his breakdown. He's the kind of person that would wind up living in a cardboard box in many societies.

All of his problems are internal, and that's what makes him such a complicated character to write. For several scenes I need a strong presence, someone who pick up the shards of shattered lives and glue them together by will alone. Mac used to be that kind of person. Now it costs him to even try.

GOTTA BE SOMEBODY by Nickelback is, I think, Mac's theme song. This is what he feels throughout the first book. He wants to be loved. He wants to be worthy of admiration and respect. And his biggest opponent is himself.

Mac felt responsible for his friends who died. He blames himself. The guilt and memories gnaw at him until he hates himself. So much of his character arc is about learning to love himself, and about letting go of the self-hatred. Some days I work on his POV chapters and just want to cry. He needs somebody to love him, to remind him that he deserves to live. This is his theme song.

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