Maggie is the most frustrating character I’ve ever written. Her story has been in my mind for nine years. Nine years. And if you do the math, you will realize that she has been around longer than her mother. Strange progression.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve amassed around 700 pages of her story that are, quite frankly, unusable. Her story never meshed. I didn’t like her in any version. I loved her mother vehemently, but Rosalind was not a complex character. Maggie is. Perhaps it was a flaw in my writing (probably), but Rosalind came out pretty two-dimensional. But, in retrospect, I wanted her to be that way. I needed a character who was less than herself, a ghost of who she was and who she could be. I think I accomplished that, but some have disagreed.
With Maggie, it’s different. She is complex. She has many dimensions to her. Yesterday, I sat at the computer with tears of frustration in my eyes thinking, “What the hell am I going to do?”
I didn’t do anything. I went to bed, grabbed a book, read a little, and then tried to fall asleep.
But something happened. There has been a certain aspect of Maggie’s life that I could never quite figure out how to manage, and that was how to get her back to Whispering Pines in a way that didn’t reek of plot device or copping out, and how to make her leave her husband. I needed it to be genuine.
Recent events provided me a way.
Without giving too much away, Maggie doesn’t leave her husband and run away to Whispering Pines; her boyfriend goes back to his wife and leaves Maggie in a city that she can’t bear to look at anymore.
Another aspect of the story that I had difficulty with is that, in every version so far, she has been infertile. I tried making Jack leave her for that, but it seemed too cold; too callous. I tried making him infertile, but in those versions, she had loved Jack since college. They could always adopt!
And then it came to me: It’s easier to write men in a scenario like this.
I switched gears. Maggie has no problem getting pregnant. Jack has no problem getting her pregnant. Moral of the story? Maggie is pregnant. Another solid reason for a douchebag like Jack to send her away so she couldn’t threaten his reconciliation with his wife.
It sounds like I am giving away the story, but I’m really not. There is a lot more to this than I will ever explain in a blog.
But, the moral of my story is that my writer’s block is over. My Maggie writer’s block is over.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I wrote the first 80 pages of Rosalind in one sitting. I didn’t come close to that today, but I did accomplish two things: I found her a clear path to the end of the story, and I wrote thirty-eight pages in one sitting.