I woke up last Sunday with a sore throat and a bit of a cough, but not enough to interfere with my blogging and editing. It got worse that night though, and I spent this past week feeling tired, woozy and generally sooky (that’s an east-coast word for those who don’t know. It’s kind of like being sulky, but with better cause and with a sense of wanting someone to wrap you in a blanket, rock you gently and say “there, there”).  

Happily, I’m getting so used to this wax-and-wane cycle of productivity that it didn’t stress me out too much, and on Friday I got back into the swing of things. Sadly, I got back into editing to find one of my characters sulking and fighting with me, which is really slowing things down.

I think I’ve mentioned in some of my recent posts that I’m adding a bit of storyline and history to one of my characters. It stems from something several of my alpha readers commented on, but I’d never really considered myself. The more I thought about it, the more I thought there was something there, and I’ve come to believe one of my characters had a secret they’re so fearful about that they’ve managed to hide it from me.

So now I’m trying to pull that secret out into the light and boy-oh-boy is my character is upset about it. I sit down to edit, I get 50 words in, and they dig in their heels, cross their arms, and refuse to budge. They do not want to move down this story-telling avenue at all.

Every time I talk about this kind of thing, I feel like it sounds non-sensical. It’s my character and my story, so I should just write the damn thing and be done with it. But in some strange, intuitive, hard-to-explain way, my characters are separate from me. I know the big picture but I have to trust that my characters will tell me the details so I can write them down. This character, however, really doesn’t want to talk about this particular aspect of their life and past. I’m having to drag it out of them, tiny piece by tiny piece.  I’ve never had such resistance before.

At this point it’s a battle of wills. Every writing session is a contest of who gets tired of the fight first. I freely admit, it’s usually me. Unlike my character, I have other things to do today, so I have to ration my time and energy, and step away. But it’s a war of attrition and I’m going to drag this out of them, whether they like it or not. The story needs it, so hopefully they’ll eventually forgive me for it.

It’s easy to say “If it’s such a fight, then maybe you shouldn’t do it” but this is where the intuition comes in. When I think about this particular storyline, it makes sense. I can feel a rightness to it and see how it fits into who this character is today. I can see the other characters learning about it and how it will colour their reactions. I can see the whole scenario as it plays out now from the eyes of the other characters and it all works. The roadblock is this character is the only one that saw how it happened in their past and they don’t want to tell me about those days.

So my editing this week will be me and this character playing an extended game of keep-away, dancing around the issue as I try to get closer to the core of it and they try to block me. Maybe I am just dancing with myself, different parts of my own mind fighting with each other. It wouldn’t be the first time, and likely not the last. Time to put on my dancing shoes.

1 Comment

  1. […] that the last few times I did settle in to write, I continued to be plagued by the problems I previously described of one of my characters really fighting me because I’m trying to write about a thing he wanted […]

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts


I had a really productive day earlier this week, and was feeling good that I’d finally moved past the new scene I’d been struggling with. Finally, I thought to myself, we’re going to make some real progress again. I had 78 pages […]