When the Characters Whisper

MinaflareWhat does one do when the characters no longer want to obey? Are we their gods, or merely their scribes, sketching their stories as they see fit? I have been master of my universes, but these three stragglers no longer follow my script.

I have attempted to keep to my mystery, hoping for happy endings. But there are sisters now, and they love him, both, in different ways. They tug and pull, and there is a tragedy, inevitably waiting to happen. Even still, I see a hundred twists toward joy, a thousand to unquenchable sorrow. In some, the mystery is the catalyst. In others, the characters whisper to forget the main line, because there is love and passion, eroticism and magic to be had.

They wish to play, drink too much, and awaken in the nude.

“But there is the matter of the child,” I say.
“He never existed,” she says. “It was madness. You must help her accept her reality.”

It cannot be. This cannot be chimera. My lead is a simple man, with dreams of Bogart, of sleepy childhood nights under the open sky. He is not the fixer of madness. And she, the first, loves him too dearly. But does she love her sister more? Would she cut off her leg to save a sibling whose own leg had been severed?

“She would,” they whisper.

So, now I sit, confused. I see their stories in my dreams. This book, I have written entirely in my head. The scenes are acted out before me. Their lovemaking rocks me; it is indelicate and I refuse to write it down.

“These are not the stories I write,” I complain.
“They are not your stories,” she says. “They are ours. We are more than you believe.”

I must walk now and take in the sun. They have begun to twist and I do not know how to follow. A simple love story is all I wanted. But now there is another one, a sister, good and true. She is wounded; he is a rescuer.

I fear they are not pure of heart. But I am not the bearer of negativity. I do not scribe eroticism, or red weddings, or the ramblings of a dishonored brood. The people clamor for those stories … but they are too easy to write. I can sweep the table of those you love, and let the shock pass for brilliance. I can allow the hearts to break and the lives to ruin. They can twist; they can.

But how to keep them from breaking? That is the real writing. That is the genius I seek, but never master. How do I allow them to break, but never shatter?

“She needs him or I will lose them both,” says the first sister.
“Then she must have him,” I concede. “But it will ruin you.”
“Then I shall be not the tree, but the grass. I shall bend, but will not break.

I resign myself to their fate. But I feel the twists are beyond me. They do not fit on the web or in a story of this size. The words are strong and heady, and this is a vessel built for dainty drinks with pink umbrella prose.

But even still, I see her, naked, wet, demanding he watch, and promising him she will never allow him to touch her. I wonder if they know that is the magic that shall trap him, and break them both.

Some books you hate to write. Perhaps it is time to stop. I do not like this wandering; the ink is spilling all over the page and now, my hands are filthy.

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7 Replies to “When the Characters Whisper”

  1. You know, my husband likes movies with happy endings. “The clench” he calls it. For instance, he hated the ending of “Good Will Hunting” just because he didn’t see “the clench.” Odd, I thought. He’s going for the girl, right? Still there’s a little bit of, “is he too late?” Will it work out? What if she’s found another?

    I found the ending satisfying, but I like nuance, ambiguity, and even heartbreak, if it serves the story. Do what you must, but why not give it a go?

    1. Not all my romances end happily. In fact, the first one I wrote, a short story, ended in insanity and heartache. As I lay in bed this morning, trying not to get up, the entire 3-scene ending played out before me. Now I know how it ends.

      I guess I’m resigned to it. They won’t shut up in my head. Writing is nothing more that socially accepted madness.

  2. I am proud of you, this is awesome, a great synopsis if I might suggest. It encapsulates the excitement of the story that is spilling forth from you and still flowing through you. You are an extraordinary writer, with a lyricism that makes me smile from head to toe. How did they not get that?

      1. Reading it had me giggling like an excited child. I love it when you write in this way, it’s like you take the lid off and let the creative flow come crashing through you like a surge of water. Man you’re good! I’m so lucky 🙂

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