When characters fight back

Since nano, I’ve been struggling to get back to my novel. I’ve tried editing the opening so many times but it just hasn’t felt right. I got to the point where I wondered if I’d simply taken the wrong approach to the story altogether.

So this morning as I took myself to the cafe for my usual Friday morning breakfast and writing session, I asked my main character just what her problem was. This is what she said to me:

The trouble is, you’ve made me too conventional, expecting to follow the norm, and then provided no justification for me breaking from the norm except one that puts me and my baby in danger. You need to think much more clearly – why do I go against the norm? what problems does it cause? Why would I be so stubborn and awkward when I’ve always been one to do as I’m told?

I thought for a while, and then answered her:

Because you were always like that. Because you followed the norm while hating it. That side has been squashed your whole life, and Matt brought it out. Matt made you feel alive, and now that he’s gone, his baby gives you the courage you needed to reveal who you really are. That’s why you want to hold on to him.

So now I guess I need to sit down with her some more and have her tell me some stories of her childhood, and meeting Matt. Stories that might or might not be used in the novel but will at the very least help me get to know her better and understand why she behaves the way she needs to in the story.


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