Two weeks ago, the universe sent me a little message from an old friend. Today, he sent me the same one again.
I was sitting outside, alone, at a different coffee shop, concentrating on my MS, MP3 player plugged in, pen in hand. Everything I have written thus far has been typed in as I promised myself I'd get done by the end of this week. Way back last year I felt like my hero wasn't telling me enough about himself and I didn't understand his needs, secrets or motivations enough to provide him with his own arc. I had written a scene that felt out of order, so I snagged another notebook and tried to fill in the parts in between.
That notebook wound up containing about 40 pages and three scenes, and in it, my hero got weirder and weirder. Instead of loving all over the heroine like he had been before, he became strange, Distant Guy. And as I typed in my work I realized that one of the reasons I don't know what to do with him is because while he's great for her, she doesn't really bring anything healing to his world.
He's already normal. Healthy. Happy. (That bastard) And well-adjusted people make for boring stories. Of course, I need him to be a good guy and good for the heroine but, to provide a satisfying story for the reader, I need her to be good for him too.
So I've got myself a structural problem. And I'm aware of it. And I'm sitting at a dainty little outdoors table writing it out. I'm basically talking to myself on paper about my hero and his problems and whether this damn book can be fixed.
I write down: The question is, can this book be salvaged? And the answer is yes. I know it can.
I was just about to add: But I don't know how.
-when a woman stops by my table and interrupts me.
She was riding by on a bicycle and says that she just got this urge, a compulsion, a "message from God" (or the universe), to stop by my table and tell me to keep working on whatever I was writing. She thought maybe I was writing a song (I confess to probably singing out loud. I do that when my headphones are plugged in and I think I'm alone, so she's forgiven for thinking that I was working on music) but no, I was working on deconstructing - and reconstructing - my MS.
She said she was nervous about stopping, so she circled around a few times, but she couldn't get the urge out of her head that she needed to talk to me and tell me to keep going. She was worried it was going to be awkward. She was a stranger and couldn't imagine that I'd accept, appreciate or understand the message to keep working on whatever I was writing. We chatted for a few minutes. I told her of my frustrations with my structure and my issues with getting my hero to talk to me. Hell, we were already in a woo-woo space, I figured she could handle my being upset that an imaginary character wasn't talking to me.
She reminded me that that's exactly like real men, they're not so much for the communication. Interesting.
After a few more minutes of friendly chatter, she hopped back on her bike and rode away, back to her life. I turned my MP3 player back on. This time, instead of the song Tony had once sent me, it was a song I once sent him. A song that, to this day, makes me smile because it reminds me of when we were falling for each other and how I just wanted to be with him forever and ever.
Within minutes of my personal messenger riding off (and the song ending, because, of course, I had to sit back and listen to it), I had a nice little breakthrough. My hero expressed his frustration in that ultra-male way that they do. He picked a fight to defend his woman's honor. Heh.
So I'm gonna keep working on this MS. I was planning to anyway, (I have a stubborn streak in me) but with the upcoming changes in my life it seems the universe, in its own special way, is also determined to make sure I get it finished.
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