When my first novel started to drag I decided to call a meeting. Things were bogged down and I wasn’t sure why. So I sat the major characters down at an imaginary table and asked them what I should do to kick start The Lion and the Eagle, my novel about the Revolutionary War.
The villain was the loudest. Colonel Shrewsbury wanted more page time. He was madly in love with the heroine and wanted a longer love scene. He also wanted me to spend more time in portraying his good side—the love he held for his scullery maid mother banished from the Royal Castle following the episode in the broom closet with the King.
The hero was nice about it. He simply told me he wanted to grow up much faster so we could see and feel more of his hatred for Shrewsbury for killing his mother at the church picnic when he was seven. He wanted to make sure Emily, the heroine, was at the picnic so she’d be a witness to the cross he carried (literally) after his mother’s death.
Emily was the boldest. She said if she was conflicted by her love of two men she wanted to come out of it with flying colors. She wanted a visible reminder of her rejection of Shrewsbury just before the story’s violent end. When she gallantly suggested he carve his initials in her left breast, how could I refuse?
We all get stuck now and then. And we all have our special ways of digging out. Whether it was brilliant or naïve, it worked back then and it still works today.
Causes William Ong Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center