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Unfortunately, it’s been a busy week and I haven’t really had a chance to work on this. But here’s what I’ve been able to hammer out so far for a conversation with one of my characters (this happens to be the main character in the novel I’ve been working on).

“What is this? Why are you here?”

“Oh, I’m only passing through. It’s an assignment. I’m supposed to have a conversation with one of my characters.”

“Huh. So are you sober for this one?”

“I’m sober for all of them.”

“Liar….So while you’re here, can you tell me why I haven’t been able to move past page 53 for the past two weeks?”

“It’s not you. It’s the chapter. It’s sticky stuff. I have to write it just right.”

“Have you ever heard of revision?”

“You’re not a short story.”

“Do I have to be?”

“No—well—yes. You see, your story can’t arc too soon, or the readers will be pretty darn bored for the last half of the book. It’s all about pacing, and I’m worried that I’ve had too much happen with you too soon.”

“I’ll say. I kill someone on accident. Start stalkin’ a family just so I could watch over a kid that isn’t even mine, and take on a bank robber in the middle of a field because he got too close to “my” kid. I’m a busy guy. About the only thing you haven’t given me yet is a drinkin’ problem…Oh wait, I had one of those in the beginning of the book. What happened to it? By page 40, I was stone cold sober.”

“I thought readers would empathize more with you if you didn’t have it.”

“Yeah, but don’t you think anyone who is payin’ attention is going to think that’s a bit of a scratch on an otherwise nice looking vehicle?”

“Don’t give yourself too much credit.”

“Honey, I’m the star character and the way it’s looking right now, I’m going to turn my life around. So I’m feelin’ a little bit less ashamed with every page.”

“Yes, you are.”

“So why did I stop drinkin? Let’s get it in writing.”

“Maybe, the incident…with Barbara. Maybe you felt afterward like drinking played a role.”

“And…”

“And so you went to AA.”

“And I’m supposed to meet people there. I mean you have yet to mention a single friend I have in the town, but John and Belinda’s kids have seen me talkin’ to people. Who’s talking to me, if I haven’t redeemed myself yet?”

“Yes, who is talking to you? Yes, you’ve made friends in AA. Not many. Just a few who believe in you. You have a sponsor, too. What’s his name?”

“Hers.”

“Huh?”

“I said what’s her name? It has to be a she.”

“Why?”

“Because I need some type of tension with the opposite sex to play off of the guilt I feel about Barbara. We don’t gotta date. We just gotta know each other pretty well.”

“I think you should not go to AA until after you take the money.”

“But I don’t need AA anymore after I take the money.”

“That’s the point. You have like a conversion. You go to AA because the money puts you in a sort of reverse mode. You start doing things that you believe you should have done years ago to make you a better person but didn’t—whether or not you still need them.”

“But you still gotta explain why I stopped drinkin’.”

“Yeah, but I can say that in a paragraph—a sentence or two maybe even.”

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2 Comments

  1. I love the way your character has such an arrogant attitude with you instead of realizing that with an eraser, or a different direction on your part, you could make his life really miserable. Can’t wait for the shoe to drop.

  2. Very interesting the way you give your character power here, so much in fact that he seems like a co-creator. The way you explain dynamics to each other is downright symbiotic:

    “It has to be a she.”
    “Why?”
    “Because I need some type of tension…”

    This back-and-forth can certainly be instructive, but don’t be afraid to show him who’s boss!


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