An actual serious post

I’ve finally been getting back into working on my latest book. There are plenty of great excuses (mostly involving a lot of time spent away from home due to work) and I’m glad to be able to get back to my story and characters. It’s my preferred way to relax, to vent, to be creative and feel like I’m building something rather than just sitting around watching TV shows about spoiled housewives or beauty-pageant moms.
I’m at a point in the story where a character is going to need to deal with an issue that’s been a long time in coming. She’s just lucky when it comes to her little corner of the war; she gets the job done, takes risks and always seems to make it out alive (if not a bit roughed up in the process).
People always line up to go out with her on the next op, but she comes back and usually some of their number don’t. So she finally has the revelation that she’s surviving and they aren’t.
I want to explore her dealing with survivor’s guilt. Now, I know a lot of people from transplant recipients to firefighters to natural disaster survivors can run across this affliction, but the story is about a fighter pilot and so that’s where it centers.
I’ve been reading websites, various foundations that study and help treat this condition. I should probably surf some message boards as well.
The quandary is this: I want to acknowledge this real issue and the fact that it happens. This is a story, an action novel, but the real world is not just Michael Bay and John Woo movies. Real people deal with the consequences later. The problem is, this is not a series of books that is meant to focus solely on heavy issues. I want the story to move, to be fun and yet serious in a Joss Whedon sort of way.
So, I want her to have to come to grips with this, but I don’t want the story to become JUST about this. I want it to be authentic, to honor the very real condition and acknowledge that it can and will happen to anyone, but I don’t want it to feel fake or forced, like I was somehow obligated to shove something in there to show I’m aware of a particular cause.
That’s all, really. No witty comparisons of original vs JJ Abrams Trek or anything like that, just venting the thoughts hammering around my head right now.
I will keep reading and try to have my character deal with this situation as realistically as possible. It’s not the sort of thing that gets ‘fixed’ by the end of a chapter, so I hope I can do it justice.

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