A. Marie Silver

A. Marie Silver

Misadventures in Editing: Torturing My Main Character

Ever wondered what a writer goes through when editing a work-in-progress?  Here’s your chance to find out.  Take a look at some of the conversations I’ve had with my characters while editing my current novel. If something like this has ever happened to you, please tell me in the comments.

I scribbled away inside my notebook, trying to get the last few scenes outlined. “Let’s see,” I began.  “Let’s put you into family therapy with your brother.”

“Ha!” Amethyst kicked back in her chair, resting her legs on the conference table.  “I don’t think so.”

“Why not?” I asked. “Henry is the only family you have.  Let’s get things worked out between you.”

“No can do,” she said. “You put me in the room with him and he’ll spend the entire time praying for my soul.”

“What’s wrong with that?” The tip of my pencil broke mid-sentence. I reached for my pencil sharpener and waited for Amethyst to answer my question.

“I don’t believe in God,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Or the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, ghosts, goblins, sparkly vampires, and the Easter Bunny.  But!” She snapped her fingers, swinging her legs off the table. “I do believe in Cadbury Eggs, so figure that one out.”

There was something wrong with what she just said.  It took me a second to figure it out but when I did, I jumped.  “What do you mean you don’t believe in ghosts?” I turned toward her.  “You’re psychic.”

“I’m. Not. Psychic!” Amethyst yelled. “For the love of tacos!  Quit calling me that!  I’m not psychic! I’m delusional. There’s a HUGE difference.”

Here we go again. I should have known better than to broach this subject but of course, my mouth had other plans. “Amethyst.” I sighed. “I regret to inform you that you are very much psychic. Sorry about your luck.”

Amethyst clenched her teeth. “No, I’m not.  I’m delusional. I suffer from hallucinations.  I see things that aren’t scientifically possible.  I might even have a sleep disorder – but that would require you to get off your butt and do some research.”

Rude! “You’re psychic.  You’re not crazy or delusional but if you really want a sleep disorder, I can arrange that for you.”

“You want to arrange something for me?”

I have no clue if the above commentary from Amethyst was a question or a statement.  So I did what any writer in my shoes would do, I shoved a question mark at the end of the sentence and called it a night.

“If you’re done with your narrative,” Amethyst interrupted. “I’d like to finish what I was saying.”

Of course she does. “I’m listening, Highness.”

She cleared her throat. “If you want to do something for me, try getting me a job as a crime scene investigator.  That is, after all, why I went to college. It’s what I’ve worked so hard for.”

“I know that,” I began, “but the only problem is, as a writer I’m supposed to torture my characters.”

“You’re making me go into family therapy with my brother,” Amethyst said. “Isn’t that enough?”

“‘Fraid not.” I shook my head.  “But I am giving you a job.”

“Where?” Amethyst looked nervous as she waited for my response.  I wish I could tell you that she had no reason to be nervous, but I have responsibilities.

“The Burger Bucket.”

Amethyst jumped out of her seat, throwing a container of pens at me.  “You suck!”

“There’s always Waste Management.”

“You are the worst writer ever!”

Wow!  I haven’t even published this book yet and I already have a negative review….from my protagonist. How sad is that?

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A. Marie Smith

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