I’m still hard at work elucidating the background and motivations of my female main character in my novel Free Souls. You may have despaired of my ever tying in all this verbiage and getting back to the action of the present day of the story, but never believe that that hasn’t been ever-present in the back of my mind.
But how would I do that? Would I bring her life up to the time she meets the hero, then start a new chapter with something dry and academic like, “So, what did this all amount to? Summarize”? I don’t think so. At least, I hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
Well, soldier on, I told myself, and I’ll work on correlating her past experience with her present dilemma when I have to, and no sooner. But I always assumed I’d do it after I’d given the poor girl her full measure of mind-messing past relationships.
But yesterday morning I got what I think is a very good idea. Why not, after we hear how each of these affairs ends, why not bring her back up to the book’s present (which, to be precise, is November of 1981), and have her verbalize to herself how each experience left her with habits and fears that might signal danger should she get together with the hero?
This will mean more surgery on chapters already posted, of course. And more renumbering of chapters and blogposts. Never mind, I’ve got that down to an art.
But that doesn’t make it less difficult getting the first of these introspective chapters written. I’m taking the first few paragraphs of what is now Chapter 19 and rewriting them so they incite my MC to draw her conclusions. All that will become the new Chapter 19. What’s left of the old 19 will be renumbered as Chapter 20, and so on. But I can’t seem to lay hold on the perfectly good words and phrases I came up with Friday morning– when I was working at another job and couldn’t write them down.
Instead as I sit here at 2:00 AM trying to produce something coherent, my head is like a deep forest filled with strange vegetation. Figuratively I’m spinning around wildly, eyes staring now here, now there, trying to find a path to lead me to light and logic and good prose. At every turn I seem to hear a voice saying, “Say it this way!” Then from another direction, “No, put it that way!” And from over there, “No, write it this way instead!” But every time I try to follow, the words fade away, the dark undergrowth is as thick as ever, and I’m just as lost as before.
Maybe it’s looking at what I wrote previously that confuses me. Maybe the best way would be to open a new, blank, word-processing page and just write what I have in my mind without looking at my previous words at all. Then go back and paste it into what I have now, and slice, dice, and chop it all into coherency.
However I do it, I’ll find my way out. I will.
Besides, it is after 2:00 AM and I’ve had a long day. In fact, the words for this post haven’t exactly been tripping along, either. So if I have any sense remaining at all, I’ll give it a rest.
And for not so long as before.