I’ve been having trouble moving my current work in progress forward. I have a good number of pages written, and partially edited, but it’s sitting still. In thinking about why this is happening, I realized as much as I thought I knew my main character, it wasn’t enough. She’s an interesting person going through a bunch of tough stuff. Yet, I hadn’t captured her well on the page. What to do?
I have the classic character sketches many of us write. I have short descriptions of what she looks like, what foods she hates, and what her collection of orchids mean to her. Yet, it all just wasn’t coming together as well as I wished. As a character she seemed to stay flat. It was time to find a new approach. I really didn’t want to write much more only to have it continue to be below par.
After much fussing over this I decided to invite her to spend time with me. She’s moved in. Alex and I have been having ongoing conversations- out loud- about all sorts of stuff. I’ve asked her opinion on a wide range of subjects. She has a great roasted chicken recipe (I’d needed a new approach as I was making dinner). Recently I was annoyed with a friend and Alex had excellent advice. After all, she’s a psychotherapist.
I’m a mother of two, now grown women. Alex is pregnant, not married and trying to find her own path. I, of course, have much advice for her.
My dogs cock their heads as I forcefully discuss world events with Alex. She and I agree on most things, but I still have a few points to win. I’m not sure how long Alex will be living in the guest room. It might be time to buy her a ticket to somewhere. But, in the process of her moving in she has become bigger, feistier, and definitely more part of my daily routine. I hope that translates to how she comes across on the page.
Now, I have to have Nico arrive at the door. He’s the recalcitrant Italian who Alex is trying to trust but can’t quite get there. I’ve promised my husband that nothing off-color would ever happen between Nico and me, but there is the allure of having long conversations with him. At least my Italian will improve.