I finished the introductions of Amanda and Marshall and in the re-read/edit, it does not suck at all. God it was a bear to get through. All in all uncomfortable to write and I didn't quite figure it out until I got a reply from meldvh which triggered a memory of a writing project years ago.
Here's the ridiculously short synopsis. Our protagonist is a kick ass warrior woman. She's beautiful despite her years of war and battle. She has long grey hair with a single streak of black. Her sword does cool lightning effects. Anyway, she's been away for many years and has now returned to settle some old scores that she already thought was settled. Her steely blue eyes peer coldly beneath her brows as her horse saunters down the long road. She's feeling foul and making plans to kick some ass.
This story had it all. Atmosphere, premise, cool warrior woman, the opening page was awesome. It was then our warrior woman runs into a old friend, someone she hasn't seen since she went away. They greet amicably and right before they make plans to join forces and kick even more ass, it happens.
Suddenrifically, my super cool, cooler than ninja pirates fighting gangstah zombies, cooler than the orange line at Mission to Mars in Disney, cooler than Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson being the lunch lady at school and serving up deep fried tacos, kick ass warrior woman commits total literary disaster on a Krakatoa scale.
She starts bawling her eyes out. I mean, she just falls to pieces, right there in the road. She's crying! I'm staring at what I wrote and I don't believe it. I delete a couple paragraphs and have at it again and bam! She's having a total Freudian meltdown. I take a break and try again a few days later but the same thing happens. She's crying! Super cool warrior woman is got snot running down her nose and full blown tear production and I'm sitting there going, wha?
After about two weeks of trying to work this out and backing up not just to the beginning of the story, but to the last story, a novella. And there lies the problem. In the last story, super cool warrior woman gave birth and the baby was stolen and, as far as warrior woman knows, the baby was killed. Warrior woman seeks revenge and there's a lot of blood involved and the story ends more or less.
Warrior woman goes off to the mountains to have more adventures, the end.
And she never mourned for her child.
She did what any warrior woman would do, bury her grief with a lot of bodies. I figured she'd gotten counseling over the years, some group therapy. But turns out she didn't. On her return and seeing her old friend brought the grief back with a vengeance and she started bawling on the road.
I was sort of stuck. I couldn't go into back story, it would change the whole mood of the story, and the kid had nothing to do with the story I was working on. I was in trouble unless there was a traveling merchant caravan with a psychologist warrior counselor in tow.
And there wasn't. I checked.
So, the work around, the friend did not appear in the story. Warrior Woman never had her melt down and as of now she's a ticking timebomb, but the story got writ and it was way cool.
So herein lies a similar problem where Amanda and Marshall meet. While Marshall has a lot going for him trust wise, Amanda is barely holding it together and is totally weirded out and I, the one at the key board, is sensing Amanda's discomfort, although I'm not fully catching on because I'm a dolt, and is also weirded out.
How weird is that?
Sir diablu once told me of a writer who was suffering from writer's block because he needed his protagonist to get up and leave the room and the protagonist wouldn't. I was like, but the writer is God! The writer can make him get up and leave the room.
And years later that lesson comes back. The writer is not God. Characters are people. Writers are only the story tellers.
So, does that make God only a story teller?