Believable characters come in part from a writer’s willingness to be true to them, accept their flaws, and let the character lead the story. I think the ability to be true to your characters is dependent on being honest with yourself … a hard thing for some people.
Today’s stretch is a tough one. Write about a big mistake you’ve made.
About eight years ago, the company I worked for—my brother’s company—was in trouble with the IRS. I had started working for him years earlier because he needed the help, but I was an hourly worker; I wasn’t involved with the operation of the company. He and his partner had no business experience, but they’d once worked long and hard and the company had grown into a good source of revenue for them, although it wasn’t really profitable. I thought the mistakes that had put them into trouble could be corrected and the company made profitable, so I took out a home equity loan and got them through the IRS mess.
That decision was a mistake. I didn’t look close enough at how they operated and I didn’t initially insist on having some control. More money was borrowed and changes made, but the truth was that I never looked honestly at their commitment to “righting the ship.” My own hubris led me to believe that I could rescue this company. At one point, we were close to pulling through but it seemed the fates were against us.
Now, I’m thankful that life took me down that road. Otherwise, it is unlikely that I’d be where I am now—poorer, but doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Still, just because things may have worked out over time doesn’t change the fact that it was a mistake—my mistake—that lost us our home and left two brothers estranged.