Have you ever written a character so depraved or a plot so tragic such that you have hesitated and revised your story; not fearing audience backlash but held back by your own ethics and beliefs? Suppose you are writing a villain that has fetishes beyond what is acceptable in a young adult novel; are authors such as yourself held back in storytelling potential because the villain’s actions are too sick to fantasize about? Or could you disconnect yourself emotionally to deliver a powerful story?

Archibald in Invisible Sun. He was a much more depraved person in early drafts, and he did things to his victims that disturbed me. Those passages came out before my editor saw them, and even on revisions, I cut more out. Part of that was because I just didn’t want to hurt my favorite character more, and part of it was that the scale of his violence was out of balance with the rest of the novel. He drew too much attention, and his behavior was a distraction.

In an early unpublished novel, I wrote in great detail about a tragic crime. When I reread that scene a decade later, I was glad that it had not been published.

I would never be able to disconnect emotionally from a story. It is the emotional connection to the characters that enables me to deliver any kind of power or resonance to the story. I care as much about them as my readers do, and they live on in my head long after the book is finished.

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