Friday, May 14, 2010

Imaginary Conversations with Imaginary People

I had a long talk with this woman. She’s having trouble making up her mind. The issue is quite important. Should she marry this guy and have all the worldly goods she could want, never to worry about bills again, and get a handsome, sexy husband in the bargain? Or should she stay single, poor and destitute, with her independence and pride intact?

The woman is a main character in a novel I’ve been working on for about five years. I have a lot of the story done. There are about 60,000 words in the manuscript, but there are a few holes in the story. Unfortunately, they’re large holes. I have to get the characters from point A to point B, and from Point B to point C. I know what happens when they get there, but the “bridge” is missing.

I’ve got this particular bridge started at both ends, but I’ve had trouble getting the two ends to connect. She’s been married and burned before. What’s going to make her take a leap of faith and realize that this time it’s not going to be the wrong choice to put her life, and her heart, in someone else’s hands?

I decided to study other independent women and find out what made them take the chance. I started to look at the lives of successful women like Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin and see if I could find out how they managed to fit a personal relationship in their lives. But I realized that wouldn’t quite fit the character I’m creating. She’s strong, but not so successful that the “hero” would be intimidated. She’s more afraid of losing herself. In the male-dominated society where she lives, she would lose what little she has, both in material belongings, and self-sufficiency. But I’ve got to get these two people together. How?

The only way to know anyone’s true motivation is to go to the source. So I sat down and interviewed her. I laid out my questions, and waited for her to give responses. And she replied! The answer was so simple I can’t believe I struggled for so long. I’m going to my semi-annual writer’s retreat in Fremont, where my laptop and I will be constant friends. I’ll get to work putting this on paper (figuratively speaking), and then I’ll be able to go on to the next part of the story.

Until I reach another hole. Then I’ll have to have another conversation with my imaginary friends.

Goals progress:

Health: let’s not discuss this till next week. The scale still isn’t fixed. Besides, we writers LOVE to eat.

Writing: slogging along, writing a little bit each day. Hoping to make a LOT of progress this weekend!

Creativity: made some baby hats out of some spare fleece I had. I need to find some pretty silk flowers or other decorations to pretty them up. No, they’re not for any particular baby – just to have around, or maybe bring to a craft show this summer.

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