I just finished another chapter in my first chick-lit novel, Whine and Wine. It seems like each time I finish a chapter, I feel myself more and more a part of the ladies in the story.

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Sylvia, for example, is a pastor’s wife with a sordid past who is beginning to see that her husband isn’t quite the clean-cut  man he claimed to be either. My point with Sylvia is not shock value, but more that everyone has skeletons in their closet no matter how loudly they claim that they don’t. And everyone has a story to tell and a purpose for their past if we will just try to see life through each other’s eyes rather than wasting time on judging them.

I get tired of fake people. I probably have less things in my skeletal closet than just about anyone I know, but there is still a tattoo on my shoulder and some permanent scars on my body that reveal me for the thrill-seeker that I am at heart. I have hurt people (both intentionally and unintentionally), and I have had my heart broken and feelings hurt. I have been in physical altercation, ego showdowns, and verbal fights, and I have learned from them all. I just prefer to share my lessons through the lives of my characters.

That’s part of what makes fiction so much fun. I can take a little snippet of an actual event from my life and create this elaborate subplot in my character’s life to entertain without revealing my own pain. I love it! Fiction is like my own twisted therapy.

The bottom line for me is that I love helping people with non-fiction, but my real heart and soul comes to life with fiction. This novel is proving to be one of the most enjoyable undertakings of my 30-something year life. And to know that the few people who have read the story so far have enjoyed it too makes me feel like the “real” characters are relatable. That makes the process worth the effort.

So tell me, who are some of the characters in your favorite stories and books that you loved to hate, hated to love, or that made you realize that you are not alone in this crazy world? Who has been the most relatable character to you, and who has taught you another way to see the world?