What He Said

I’ve devoted this week to finishing Taryn and completing a second draft. It wasn’t a conscious decision, even though I’m determined to publish it sometime in August. Sometimes the work just takes hold without my having to decide that this is the right time. So the last three days have seen me tear through the 16 completed chapters, revising and editing, while chapter 17 has languished, unfinished.

But I’m back at it now. I added about 100 words a while ago, not a whole lot, but they took me past a serious block. I’m beginning to see a pattern in the roadblocks that sometimes keep the work from moving on. They’re almost always about a point in the story where the right or wrong words can change everything. This is a point where an insight can send the character down a new path, for good or ill. Where what is said will determine how a relationship develops. Whether the dialogue is internal or external, it has to be clear to the reader that this moment is vitally important. But first it has to be clear to the character.

In this sequel to Hidden Boundaries, Cor, who is now a free man, has to work with Jakon, the slave master who once had almost total power over him. His memories and his continuing uncertainty about his place in the world threaten to undermine him. But Jakon’s response when he finds Cor at his door changes everything. Their positions have reversed. Power has changed hands, and Cor finally understands what his freedom has given him. Jakon only has to say one word and Cor’s consciousness shifts.

It took almost a week of letting the scene stew in the back of my mind to find that word and work out what it meant. One word can be so important, to both the writer and the character. It’s too bad that real life doesn’t always give us the chance to find it.

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2 thoughts on “What He Said

  1. I tend to get hung up during transitions from one area of my protag’s life to another. I weave multiple threads/storylines through my manuscript, and going from one thread to another can be tricky, especially when something particularly powerful has happened in one storyline but the other storyline is at a very different emotional level. It’s kind of like when your dad dies but you still have to do the laundry.

  2. Yeah, it’s the transitions that are difficult. You know what’s going to happen, but you may not know the important thing — *how* it happens. And if other things are going on at the same time, it’s like juggling.

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