Drowning in Roses and Moonlight (I Knew You There)

Four thousand, five hundred words into the re-write of the first chapter and the fat, splaying purposelessness of it all has ground me to a halt. This happens here, then that happens there. So what? At this point, if the sky caved in on the entirety of my world and all its inhabitants, I would shrug and close the door.

It took days of contemplation and blasting In Tenebris on my headphones to realize the issue: my protagonist. I don’t care about her. I don’t care about her because she isn’t who she’s meant to be.

Somehow, I tricked myself. The same outer appearance that my MC, Verity, shows to strangers has misled her own author. How to describe this? She is like a violin. On the one hand, you have the musicians in stiff white collars, playing sonatas at tea parties. And then there are gypsies dancing around the fire at midnight—that is Verity. Reserved, gentle, well-mannered, but deep within her spirit there is a burning love of life and a wildness. She has lost the dangerous edge of her passion.

Not only that, but the depth of the darkness within her sealed itself off from me. I am moving her, directing her, but I do not know her. She is like a porcelain doll.

Maybe I am worrying too much, trying to press it all into perfection. Into the press goes Verity, and she comes out like a teacup. No good. No good at all. It is like there is a glass shell of pride around her and she won’t let anybody in.

So what am I doing wrong here? I am making the reader view her like a stranger would, but why?

I think it is fear. If I let the reader inside Verity’s heart and head, they will know exactly what I mean to say. And if they know exactly what I mean to say, they’ll know exactly when I’m saying it wrong. The way Verity views the world paints my own loves and intentions clearer than I am comfortable with. She understands things too well.

I am afraid to lose myself in the fabric of my own world, to give in to that understanding. What if it isn’t what it’s supposed to be? Wouldn’t it be safer, more sensible, to hold the story at arm’s length and press into it the ideas I know it needs? I can see the entire book from here . . . I just cannot feel its breath.

There is no point in writing a book about overcoming fear and accepting the full exquisiteness of life if I hold back from bravery and beauty myself. I need to take a deep breath, trust myself, plunge into the madness of dreamer’s thoughts that is Verity’s head. Let go of reason, but keep my feet planted on it. There is truth and sense enough woven through the world that I will be able to see it without clinging to a handful of abstract rules for security.

It’s amazing how much better I can understand things when I write them; I know exactly what to do now. Tomorrow, I shall begin weaving my way through Verity’s mind. I would start tonight, but I’m really much too tired. Watching The Lord of the Rings and procrastinating all day can wear a person out.

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