Monday, October 28, 2013

Her Right to Remain Silent



I am always learning to write. I have never "learned to write." No past tense possible in this career and calling. Just when you think you've mastered it, writing wiggles free from your grasp, sticks out her tongue, and runs away giggling.

That's where I am with my current book project. It's like nothing I've ever written before in that it requires a TON of research. I am diving into a world I do not understand and my character has, thus far, remained a character instead of a person.

She won't talk to me.

It is seriously driving me crazy.

I've been dancing around her. I have researched happenings related to the one I want to write about. I have made lists of what I need to do. I have contacted a few people who can help me understand guns, because they are not my thing. I have plotted, in my head, who this girl is, what she was like before IT happened and how IT led to the even bigger IT that is the centerpiece of my story. I have thought about her best friend and her ex-boyfriend and her teacher.

Still, she is cold toward me. She glares. She won't speak.

And then, yesterday, it hit me...

Of course she won't speak! I just finished telling my husband how she refuses to speak to the police or a lawyer or even her best friend. She won't answer questions. She is taking her "right to remain silent" very seriously.

And if she won't talk to them, why would she talk to me?

I'm going to have to approach her from a different angle. Since this wall of silence didn't occur until the first IT happened, I am going to have to find her before. I need to meet Chrissy, because by the time she shortens her name to Chris and quits talking, she's written everyone off, including me, and I made her. I created her. And she still won't even look me in the eye.

Being a writer is often like parenting. Or being God. All of these little creations and they think they know what's best for them.

*pulls out hair*

So, for the next few days, I am trying to learn about Chrissy, the anti-war activist who dumps her boyfriend over his purchase of a gun. She's kind and sweet but also confident and outspoken. She's way more likely to talk to me than Chris, silent stalker of violent justice.

Is there anything in your life that you keep learning over and over again? What is it and has it been worth the lessons?

1 comment:

  1. People often hide from hard truths. Perhaps something happened to "Chrissy" that Chris has suppressed -- something which she might not even fully remember, but that has informed all of her choices and decisions.

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