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When Characters Rebel

I finally got through with my yard work and sat down at the computer to work on one of my novels, when a screech sounded behind me. I nearly jumped out of my desk chair, but turned it instead to see what was making such a horrific sound.

Willow filled the doorway, a scowl on her face, and she had something in her hand that I couldn’t see around the door jam. The arm, the one that stretched out into the hallway, jerked a couple of times.

Stop moving or you’ll get more.” Willow stared into the hallway and yanked her arm and was rewarded with another screech.

What is going on?” I really needed to get back to my writing if I was going to get my quota in for the day. Unfortunately, I had sat for the last thirty minutes just staring into the corner of the room, with an occasional peek at the computer display. I had three sentences, and none of it felt right. “I need to get back to my story.”

Oh really.” She stared at me and yanked at whatever was outside the room, without even looking into the hallway. “How much have you written so far?”

Well— ” I knew I couldn’t lie to her as she would find out anyways.

Yeah, just like I thought. You want to know why you can’t write anything?” She glared at me, challenging me to tell her.

After a few moments, she nodded smugly. “This is why.” She stepped into the room and dragged in whatever was in the hallway. It turned out to be Rylan, the main character in my Dragon Whisperer novel. And she had him by the ear.

What’s he doing here?” I stood up shocked that one of my characters was in my office. No wonder I can’t get him to talk in the scene.

She shoved him forward into the room, letting go of his ear. “Ask him yourself.” She walked past him and dropped into her well-worn leather chair.

Rylan stood there in his leather pants and linen shirt with a suede dublet over it. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail; medium length, dark-brown and curly, with a blond streak on the right side, that was set off by bright green eyes. He rubbed his right year and grimaced.

He turned to look at me and smiled, though it was a weak one.

I just stared and waited for an answer. It struck me that the chapter I was trying to write, started off with Rylan complaining to Emerald. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going anywhere. Rylan was whining to Emerald, and she had just made a glib retort, but then I couldn’t figure out what Rylan did next.

You know the scene you are working on?” Rylan said hesitantly.

I nodded. Of course, I know the scene. I’m the one writing it!

What was the last thing you wrote?” He stood, feet apart, and his tone had become tight.

I didn’t need to look at the computer as I had been staring at it off-and-on for the last half-an-hour. “You had just complained to Emerald, and she put you in your place.” I had to grin as I thought of her quip.

That’s exactly it.” He stepped forward and put his hands on the arms of the desk chair, leaned down so his face filled my entire view. “Why am I such an idiot?”

I was stunned. I had no idea what he meant.

He stood and walked across the room, then turned and came halfway back. “I am always complaining. That’s not me.” He rubbed his chin as he turned to face the door and then turned back again. “I don’t whine.”

Sounds like it to me,” The scorn in her tone left no doubt how she felt.

Rylan glared at her and then back to me. “Everyone complains from time to time, but this is ridiculous. Why does Emerald always get the great lines, and I have to play the straight man?”

Well, you are a man and Emerald is a dragon.” Willow chuckled.

Stop Willow.” I chided her. “I need to find out what is going on.” I turned back to Rylan. “Go on.”

Emerald knows everything and I appear to know nothing.”

I could see he was really upset, but now I understood why. “That is the crux of the story. You don’t know you are Haldis, and Emerald is the only one who can train you. Of course, she is frustrated with you. She expected you to know everything, and… ”

She thinks I am an idiot.” He sat on the arm of the leather chair, and Willow scooted over as if he had cooties.

I nodded. “Yupper.”

His head drooped for a moment, then he lifted it and his sad eyes looked at me. “There’s nothing you can do about it, is there?”

I shook my head. “If it helps, you will become really powerful and a real hero.”

Does Emerald ever quit belittling me?”

I can’t tell you that yet. There is a lot of the book still to write.”

He nodded and stood. A sigh escaped his lips, and he walked to the door. He stopped and turned to look over his shoulder. “If you can get her to leave me alone, I would really appreciate it.”

I’ll try.” I shrugged my shoulders.

He nodded again and disappeared into the hallway.

As soon as he was gone, I got an idea for how the scene would play out. I spun my chair and started typing.

Better?” I had nearly forgotten Willow was still in the room.

Much better.” I kept typing as the scene unfolded in my mind. “I’ve already written Rylan’s response and had Emerald snort in derision at it.” I tried not to laugh as I didn’t want to hurt Rylan’s feelings. I need to concentrate on this, and maybe I can still reach my quota for the day.

You should change his hair and give him a bob.” She laughed. 

I gave her a dirty look, but deep down I was chuckling again. Then a thought struck me, I wondered…

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