(Note: I am not Tawna Fenske, so that title is not a euphemism for anything. Sorry. However, this post might include a reference to a shower scene of one woman with two guys. Or not.)
I mentioned last time that one day of the weekend was taken up by writing-related stuff. What I didn’t mention was the writing I got done the other day of the weekend. That shouldn’t be news. I’m a writer and I’m supposed to write. Duh.
But the scene I worked on was one I’d struggled with before my trip. Weeks ago, in the comment section of my dealing with difficult characters post, I revealed my dilemma: “my muse wants to pants the plot in one direction and the hero wants to do something else.”
That’s right. Two sides of my subconscious were fighting with each other, and I was stuck in the middle. *shakes head at the insanity*
I put the issue out of my mind during my trip, but apparently my subconscious was working on it in the background. After I got back, I was taking a shower, and…
Wait. This story is going to sound horribly inappropriate if you picture the whole thing taking place in a shower, so let’s not go there, okay?
*ahem* I was fully dressed and just standing around when my muse (who’s male, in case you haven’t read my other posts about him) taps me on the shoulder and announces that he’s solved the problem. He pulls the hero of the story over, and they each take one of my arms and share a smug look over my head before launching into their “solution.”
I put “solution” in irony quotes there because my jaw dropped at their proposal. “You want me to write what? But that would make everyone hate the hero. They’d throw the book against the wall.”
In other words, this was not a solution. But those two arrogant jerks grinned at each other and said, “We have every confidence you’ll make it work.” The hero even gave me a light punch in the arm before he walked off to leave me to it.
Unwritten rules exist within various genres, and with storytelling in general. Romances should have a happy ending. Mysteries should be solved. And there are some things a hero should never, ever do.
Protagonists who do certain things can be an anti-hero like TV’s Dexter at best, but not a straight-up hero. And the hero of this story was meant to be a real hero (the most cocksure, alpha-male hero I’ve ever written, but still, a hero).
Yet, this was where my story was supposed to go. Where it had to go. Their solution made sense for both the character and the plot. But I didn’t know if I could pull it off without the reader hating the hero, the story, and me.
Last week, I blogged about whether we write for ourselves or the reader. I mentioned that I draft for myself and edit for the reader. But this scene was different. I had to keep the reader at the front of my mind while I drafted the scene so I’d know whether I could take the story down this road or not. I couldn’t draft this scene and not feel the reader over my shoulder.
Between the impossible subject matter, my own sense of inadequacy, and the tricky style of drafting, this was the hardest scene I’ve ever had to write, from a technical/writing skills perspective. I’ve written some emotionally draining scenes and others that needed endless tweaking in revisions, but this scene challenged me on a completely different level.
I’ll admit it: I’m proud I was able to write it. I’m sure the scene still needs work, but I proved it was possible. And that’s more than I knew about my skills a week ago. *smile*
What’s the most difficult scene you’ve ever written? What made it hard? How did you tackle it? How well do you think you did with it? How did you feel afterward?Pin It