Blogs by Jean Pike
Slamming on the Brakes
4/16/2008 10:07:54 AM
This morning on my way to town I slammed on the brakes for a chipmunk. I swear sometimes they do it to test me – run half way across the road and just as I approach, turn tail and race back into my path. Living on a country road, it seems I’m always hitting the brakes for something; bunnies, squirrels, wood chucks, even birds. My teenaged son gets supremely annoyed, but I can’t seem to help it. I’m tenderhearted. Or maybe it’s just a deeply ingrained reflex.
Looking back, I’ve spent a lifetime of abruptly slamming on the brakes. I’ve quit jobs with no notice, ended relationships on a dime, moved out of apartments in the middle of the night. What can you do? Sometimes a thing just doesn’t feel right any more.
And sometimes even bad habits can be useful. In writing, as in life, I’m constantly stomping the break pedal. I’ll be writing along, full speed ahead, when suddenly a character reveals him or herself in an unexpected way. Like Willow Mackenzie in my paranormal romance, Waiting for the Rain.
After an unpleasant bout of chemotherapy Willy’s best girlfriend, Sid, picks her up and takes her back to Sid’s apartment. Sid tries to convince Willy to move in so she can take care of her and Willy refuses. Sid asks, “Is it because of Joe?”
I quieted myself and waited to hear Willy’s response. To my surprise, she spoke not to Sid, but to me.
“Umm, Jean? That’s not gonna work.”
“What’s not going to work?”
“Because Sid’s a lesbian.”
Slam on the brakes.
“I don’t have a problem with that, Willy, but why does Sid have to be a lesbian? What’s that going to add to the story?”
“Well, you know how old-fashioned Darby is. In a few chapters my friends are going to be a big problem for him… Can you say conflict?”
Ahhh … Okay, back up the truck.
“I appreciate it, Sid, but I don’t need you to babysit me.”
“I’m not offering to babysit you. I just hate the thought of you living in a motel room. I’d feel better having you here. Just in case something happened.”
“Nothing’s going to happen.”
Sid took another pull on her cigarette. “Is it because of Zoe?”
I’ve come to believe that in life as well as in writing, you have to do what’s right for you, even if that means sometimes upsetting people.
More Blogs by Jean Pike
Sunset Cove - Thursday, March 10, 2011
my new addiction - Monday, September 14, 2009
It's all about choices - Wednesday, September 02, 2009
The Girls - Monday, July 27, 2009
Lucille has been interviewed! - Sunday, June 21, 2009
Excuses, Excuses! - Sunday, March 01, 2009
A Little Leaven - Friday, January 23, 2009
On Losing a Friend - Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Let it snow - Saturday, December 20, 2008
Of Memories and Christmas Trees - Friday, November 28, 2008
Confessions of a Football Dummy - Saturday, September 06, 2008
A Rainbow of Romance - Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sentimental Fool - Saturday, August 02, 2008
A Friend in Need - Thursday, July 03, 2008
Clothes Lining - Saturday, June 21, 2008
On Turning 45... - Sunday, June 08, 2008
I Remember... - Sunday, May 25, 2008
We're Watching You... - Monday, May 12, 2008
Beauty - Saturday, April 26, 2008
Spring... Break? - Saturday, April 19, 2008
Slamming on the Brakes - Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Hard to say goodbye... - Monday, April 14, 2008