Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When Good Characters Go Bad (aka Character Backlash - Part Deux)

Alrighty, as promised, here is a look into the crazy inner workings of my mind. Even as I write this, I'm wondering what I'm getting myself into. I never actually meant for anyone to read this - but as they say, we all have to start somewhere. It's very rough... so please excuse any glaring errors.

Oh, and there are no names included just because at this point, I sort of feel like I don't know them *sobs* :)

What Happened - Part 1

It’s cold. It’s never been this cold before. It’s never sounded this quiet or been this empty. I’m all alone. For the first time in months, I am irrevocably alone. I refuse to accept it and search in vain for a sign, anything, something to show me that I haven’t lost it all. I almost miss him when my eyes finally light upon his figure. Night has fallen, and long shadows are cast along his face, ­partially hiding it from me.

In this light, he looks more dangerous than usual, but less fiery than I remember him. It feels as though time has robbed him of his very essence, everything that he once was. His previously solid frame now appears thin and vacant, the locks of his hair too long, reaching past his bony shoulders and blending in with the darkness surrounding him. The stark contrast gives his face an eerie glow, luminescent, yet suspicious, wary of my sudden return.

“Where have you been?” His voice is gravelly, as though he hasn’t used it for a while.

He shifts, his movement almost imperceptible, coming slightly out of the gloom. I take a hesitant step back – even though I’ve been waiting for this moment, longing to see him again. He’s angry. I can see it in his fierce gray eyes as they rove over, and finally settle on my face, icy and distant. The harsh planes of his profile are no longer familiar. I swallow hard.

“I—I’m sorry,” I stammer, knowing it excuses nothing. “It’s just that...” I trail off, not sure of exactly what to say.

“You started this whole thing, and then you just abandon us?” His tone teeters between incredulous and seething.

He won’t look at me any longer. His eyes have moved to the far right, staring at something over my shoulder, something I can’t see, and can’t even begin to relate to. He looks older, robbed of his youth, having been left to wait for something that never came.

“I didn’t mean to!” I protest, desperate for him to understand. I never meant for this to happen. But I had been wrong to leave things the way they were.

He doesn’t respond.

“Honestly,” I reach out to touch him, but he stiffens, and my hand falls limply at my side. “Please believe me.”

“Why.” He sounds broken now, more emotion in that single word than he has ever shown before.

He glares at me defiantly when I don’t answer, suddenly composing himself. “Why should I believe you? You’ve stopped believing in us, haven’t you?”

I feel like crying. I’m too ashamed to speak, even though he’s got it all wrong. I didn’t stop believing in them, I stopped believing in me.

“She needs another chance.”

I jump at the sound of her voice.

Squinting, I see her materialize out of the shadows behind him. Her face is drawn and pale, her dark hair in tangles, and the bluish tint that rims the bottom of her eyes make her look as though she hasn’t slept in months. He reaches behind him to take her hand. She squeezes his and I realize with a start that they have turned to each other for solace. These two, who cannot stand each other’s company, together.

My heart is breaking. How could I have done this? What was I thinking?

“We’re leaving,” he says firmly.

“No,” she responds softly. She touches his face lightly, soothing him, before turning to me. “I’m sure you had a good reason.” She takes a step closer, her eyes pleading.

But I don’t. I have no feasible reason at all. But I don’t say it. How can I admit to it?

We’re the same height though and I can’t look away. She reads the answer on my face.

“See,” he growls roughly from behind, having already come to the same conclusion on his own, “I told you. Let’s get out of here.”

The small speckle of hope vanishes from her face, making the last remaining light in her eyes dim, and she makes no effort to conceal her disappointment in me.

He’s pulling her now. Pulling her in the opposite direction, away from me, away from the three of us and the good thing we shared. He’s always been too headstrong.

I cringe. Why did I make him that way?

They’re disappearing right before my eyes, fading into the night that gobbles them up greedily. Soon they will be gone, and there will be no more.

What do I do? What can I say? How can I make this right? Too much time has passed. Still though, I must try...

To be continued... on Thursday! Thanks for reading :)


JustineDell said...

I liked this! I'm really interested in what is going on, what is making the MC feel this way. You've done a wonderful job portraying feelings.

May I give just a teeny-weenie piece of advice? You can ignore me, of course, because what I am getting ready to say it totally a preference and not necessarily a rule.

The dialogue tags/action tags/mullings/ you put after/in between your dialogue can pull the reader out of the story. Sometimes it's best to let the dialogue itself tell the feelings/emotions/etc the characters are feeling. Don't get me wrong-sometimes you need them, but a lot of the time you can do without.

Still, a wonderful, engaging story thus far!


MBW aka Olleymae said...

Wow, this was so sad and heart-wrenching. Lots of emotion. I can't wait to see where you take it.

Melissa said...

You have really great character emotion as well as characterization! Keep it up girl. I'm very curious as to what is happening at the moment. Can't wait for thursday.

Theresa Milstein said...

She's done something terrible by leaving, but I don't know what or why. Very interesting. I'm curious to know more.

Lydia Kang said...

You can really feel the emotion in the scene. I love some of the details like the blue-rimmed eyes. I can see that so clearly.
I'd love to see some minor detail of the MC--her nails digging into her legs because of her frustration. Something to link me physically to her suffering.
just my .02, but wow, you really have something here!

WritingNut said...

Justine - Your advice is always welcome! I need to learn as much as I can :). I do tend to be a bit wordy *blushes*, I'm working on it!

Olleymae - Thanks so much! I was in a weepy sort of mood.

Melissa - Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I always worry about describing emotion.

Theresa - Yuppers. This story was just a little exercise for me to become reacquainted with my characters. The MC is actually me feeling as though I've let my characters down :).

Lydia - Thanks so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Whoa, this was tense! I look forward to the rest.

You're right: we all have to start somewhere, and that could mean doing what you just did by posting some of your work on your blog. I hope you get to know your characters well eventually; it just takes time.

We all tend to be a little too wordy at times, but this website may help: http://www.writersdiet.ac.nz/wasteline.php

WritingNut said...

Amanda - I know!! It really surprised me how dark it was. Like these are NOT the characters that I've grown to know and love. I barely recognize them now. I think they must hate me.

Thanks so much for the site - I've bookmarked it! :)

Aubrie said...

Thanks for following my blog!

This is excellent writing with great detail and deep emotion. I can really sense who the characters are. I love how she realizes that she misses him when she sees him and how he looks older like he's been waiting for something that never came.

I can't wait to read more!

WritingNut said...

Aubrie - Thank you for following mine as well :). And thank you very much for your kind words!