Not For Lack of Trying

Sorry I haven’t been around in a while, but since June, it’s been kinda busy.  A new idea thwapped me upside the head the same night as the Variety Club fundraiser, and actually, that’s where the story began.  It gives me chills to go back there now, because I was exactly where Will and Sara first met.  Since then I’ve rewritten the MS a couple of times and I still have a few scenes to go–including the Big Black Moment, the resolution, and a love scene or two, not in that order–but I’m breathless when I see what’s happening on the screen.

I attended the NJRW Conference last week and came away with so much inspiration, it was amazing.  The best of it was after the first day of workshops and I sat alone in the hotel room, laptop on lap, hands on keys, and I was jotting down notes so the next chance I had some time, I’d be able to pick up with the next scene and take off, only I caught myself writing some notes to me, too.  For the life of me, I can’t tell you who said this, but when I was done, this is what I saw on the screen: 

“that’s weak but I know you can do better when you get there; just let go and leave it all on the page, sweetie.”

Someone talked to me.  It wasn’t my critique partner, Hope Ramsay (with whom I shared a room and the misery of watching my beloved Phillies end their season on a backwards K by Ryan Howard; what, me, bitter?  Nah).  It wasn’t my bestest long distance friends, Jaye Garland and Jan Nash.  (Waving all the way to Houston!)  I couldn’t tell you who it was, but I know someone spoke to me, and ever since then, my voice has changed.  Whenever I get anxious about a major scene in which the character has to change, I remind myself to quit being scared, open up from the inside, and leave it on the page. 

One example happened today, when I had a scene where Will, the hero, can’t understand why the heroine, Sara, keeps thinking she’s a lesser person than he is, just because he’s virtually a Kennedy with a budding career in politics, and she dropped out of college with an unplanned pregnancy.  This was what I wrote:

““Talk to me, Sara,” he said, not singing, his eyes the only thing holding her in place.  “I need to know why you’re so nervous around me. I’m as human as you are.”  When she chuckled softly, his brows creased.  “See, you’re doing it again.  What’s that all about?”

            “You don’t see it, do you?”

            He stopped playing.  “What I see is a gorgeous, courageous woman who would lay down her life for the people she loves.  I see a woman who’s true to herself above everything else.  I see a woman who doesn’t back down if something stands between her and what her daughter needs.  I see a woman I admire so much that it hurts.  If there’s something that makes me different from you, Sara, then tell me what it is so I can change.””

I knew the characters were different, and that Will envied her her freedom to decide her path, rather than being burdened by his family’s obligations and doing what’s expected of him, but never once did I think, “Will wants to change for her.”  It left me breathless and wondering, “Where did THAT come from?”  And loving it, of course.

Okay, so maybe it’s not a surprise that Will loves Sara. 

BTW, I’ll be blogging more regularly over at Blame It On the Muse.  My last entry there went up on Monday, October 25th, and I’m pretty proud of that one too, so please go check it out.


3 thoughts on “Not For Lack of Trying

  1. Oh Carla, LOVE the post and I do know what you mean. It’s such a thrill to dig in deep like this and just be the messenger letting your story out for the world to enjoy. You’re rocking this! Can’t wait to read more…
    Love ya!
    Jaye in Houston

  2. Hey Carla. I love your thoughts here. The whole concept of change. Should I change for the person I love? Is it genuine if I change for someone?

    People are constantly changing ad they interact with other people. Would I change for someone? Do you go into a relationships thinking I love this person if I could only fix that one thing? They will change for me?

    All interesting philosophical thoughts. Two people crazy in love and over time they change and drift apart. What causes it, what stops it. Bottle that answer and you will make a mint.

    One thing that never changes IS change. I think when we touch on those real themes our writing transcends from fiction on a page, to life touching characters the readers want to make the journey with over and over again.

    Happy writing.

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