My Broken Dolls characters spoke to me loud and clear this week, and here’s what they collectively said:
“Oh, no, you don’t. Just where do you think you’re going? You get yourself right back here and listen to us!”
You see, I had decided to take a little break from the sequel I’m working on, Broken Dreams, which includes the same characters, Sachi, Nobu, Terrence and Jubie. I thought I’d give the romance genre a try, and had been working on a short story or novella, whichever it turned out to be.
Unfortunately, writer’s block set in in terrible fashion. I’d write a sentence, erase it. Write a sentence, re-write it. Though my mind was filled with how I wanted to story to go, I let various distractions (non-writerly responsibilities, the Internet, other writerly responsibilities, the Internet, my dogs, the Internet, the garden, the Internet) keep me from putting it down on paper.
In fact, I even decided to put writing aside for a bit, and begin painting again.
Then, Broken Dolls called to me. There is one scene in the book that has received more critical commentary than any other, and that is the circumstance by which Sachi and her family learn that Papa is dead. (Sorry for the giveaway, but it’s early in the book.) Many people have told me they were not comfortable with how that scene is written, that it does not seem realistic.
It has remained a source of irritation for months now, and maybe subconsciously, I’ve been hoping nobody else would notice that scene or that it would fix itself.
Finally, I came to my senses, helped along by a very experienced editor who read it and said the very same thing. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So, yesterday, I sat down to re-write the scene. After I thought and thought about how I could fix it, the words flowed onto paper like warm maple syrup.
When I finished the re-write, a realization hit me like a kick in the shin. (That kick might have come from Sachi, but my guess is it was Jubie.) My characters still have stories to tell. Stories that will become a part of Broken Dreams.
Like the barbed wire of the internment camps, my characters are keeping me from escaping their world until they have finished talking to me.
If I ever want to be freed, I’d better listen.