Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weighted down by my characters' dilemmas

I'm away this week on a writing retreat. The weather has been drismal: foggy, rainy, grey, closed in. The house is large but there are some big personalities here, including one I don't much care for, so it feels closed in. And the quietest place to be is my small room so I'm feeling even more hemmed in.

I realized this afternoon as I walked on the beach in the drizzle and wind that I'm feeling low, blue, off. I'd been chalking it up to the weather and that's part of it probably. I've been uncomfortable in proximity to the woman who irritates me, and that's probably part of it too.

But it occurred to me this afternoon that I am feeling weighted down by the dilemmas of my characters. On one hand, my plot is galloping to a conclusion. On the other, one character's development is in sad shape. I wrote two lovely and insightful chapters about him maybe 7 months ago (in the first quarter of the book) and he's a major player that I've been treating as a bit-player. So I'm going back and filling in the gaps. He is the character that I understand the least. At the same time, he is a character who intrigues me a great deal. I want to understand what motivates him.

It's the kind of writing that requires a sidelong glance. I cannot search directly for what I need to know. It has to come to me in some other way than willing it onto the page.

I'm grateful for the spaciousness of this week since maybe that could happen.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jill,

    Sounds like you have the right idea -- to hold spaciousness around this character, and what you want to do with him. Maybe he was a catalyst for this story, but doesn't need to be in it after all? Just a thought. I guess what I want to do is encourage you to be *spacious* around this character, to really relax into a mental space of no assumptions about this character.

    And I'm sorry to hear that there is a larger-than-life irritating personality that is in your physical space. May the soft gray cocoon of the coast soothe your irritated spirit. :-)

    huge hugs