"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, August 11, 2016

She vexes me. Who vexes you?

Now that I have my own office, my writing den, my oasis of wordsmithing (yes, okay, I'm still in love with it), I have been writing A LOT. My pirate fantasy is humming along at over 68,000 words and it's nowhere near the finish line. What is surprising me the most is that I should be in the middle of the book, where I begin to slow down and take forever-effing-long to dig my way out and head for the third act. But this story is zipping along so fast, sometimes I feel like my fingers are in a hurry to catch up with it.

Until now.

My pirate Lisette is on a long journey, through many islands in the Caribbean. (Note: These are islands I have invented because, hey, fantasy here.) She has met many people, some who've been helpful and some who've been harmful. Some have been so harmful, she had to kill them. 

(Because, hey, pirate.)

She is currently on an island to hone her new powers (teaser alert!), to find a possibly hidden treasure, and to use said treasure and powers to exact revenge against the people who betrayed her. I know on this island, she will also encounter someone from her past. I'd say she has enough to do here.

And yet...there is a woman who keeps appearing in the first scene in the village. A tall, elegant woman, with white hair piled high. Regal in manners. Her name is Adelinde Marquez, and she owns the town brothel. I can picture her clearly, and probably saw her in a painting or a movie, but I don't remember where. In my mind, she has her back toward me and is turning. I see about a third of her face. Haughty and cunning. The closest I can get is a mashup of these two:

"Woman in White" by Alfred Henry Maurer

MyAnna Buring, aka Long Susan in RIPPER STREET

When she first appeared, she was going to try to steal Lisette's gold and trap her into working as one of her putas. But that scene didn't work--a lot of drama and action, but it only got in the way. 

I rewrote the scene and had her help Lisette secure lodging for the night. Nope. Too flat. No bueno.

Then I took Madame Marquez out of the story altogether. It left a big hole, big enough to sail any ship of the Jolly Roger through.

Clearly, she belongs here, but doing what? What am I supposed to do with her?

Journal. I must take time away from Lisette to write Adelinde's story, in Adelinde's voice. As much as I'd rather be working on pirates and dragons, I must first find Adelinde's past, her reasons for being a madam, where she wants to be going in her life. I don't know that she will last beyond this meeting on this island. I only know she is necessary.

And that she vexes me.

Any authors out there with vexing characters? Come on over and share them with me. We can cry in our wine together.

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