Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"I think the death serves the narrative. . ."

Here's the meme:
1. Delve into your blog archive.

2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).

3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas…

5. Tag five people to do the same.

I read about this 'meme' on Mama Roses' blog. I've been blogging regularly since this past summer and this is the 5th sentence of my 23rd post:

"I think the death serves the narrative, but my family is threatening to mutiny if I do it."
I wrote this as I was closing in on finishing my first novel. In my initial planning, I had decided to kill a particular character. It is a character I love--one of the characters who has lived in my head for the longest time--years before I wrote the first words that became the opening for "The Wings of Winter." He's a character my family had grown to love as I talked about the story, its characters and plot all last year.

They begged me not to kill him, and presented me with all sorts of logical reasons why he should be alive at the end of the novel. I allowed myself to be convinced that they were right.

Now I know several things: first that books are never written by committee. They are not written by friends or family how ever well meaning they are. Books are not written by critique groups or even by your own internal critic. Rather stories are written through the magic of an author connecting with the "Wave in the Mind" (A wonderful essay by Ursula K LeGuin, in a book of the same name) and riding that wave to a place where the words flow and the characters find their true voices.

My dear friend Diane was one of my beta-readers and one of the things she helped me to see was that in saving this character, I was sacrificing the book's true ending.

So, I will be revising and returning to my original intent--no--the story's original intent and find that place where I am riding the story's wave until it tumbles me limp and exhausted back to shore.

Now all I have to do is find 5 blog-friends to tag.



  1. I love the title of your blog.

    Good post and good luck finding people who haven't been tagged. Maybe your list has people on it that aren't on mine. :)


  2. Linda--thanks for stopping by! And I'm glad you had this meme posted--it turned into an important realization for me.