Bella Bryce's latest blog posts
There are some interactions between my characters that I like more than others and strangely, I don't feel as though I can actually take credit for writing them. Sometimes. Yes, I wrote it, but how do I know what it feels like to be a successful middle-aged man married to a middle-aged woman with a very particular and somewhat moody teenage son? I don't. Does this face look like it has any idea of such things?
Certainly not, I tell you.
In this particular instance I'm referring to an exchange between Peter and Millie Nottoway in the Walden School series. I've written from the dominant male perspective (Brayden James, Bennett Fowler, Damian Fowler, Jonathan Fowler of the Waldorf Manor series, William of The Protagonist, also Hadley Birkett, Phin Lakely, McAllister and Charles Nottoway of the Walden School series) as well as the female perspective (Alice, Elizabeth, Evelyn, Daisy, Coach Wiley and Sam from the above named books), but some of my favourite moments have been where the mature male/female or male/male conversational dynamic is centre stage. They flow out of me and like Daisy in The Protagonist claims, I show up and transcribe what the characters in my head are saying. They do all the work. I'm just there recording it. What prompted me to this post was looking at where I left off with the Nottoways in Walden the Prequel in order to continue their story in Sam's Silence, the third Walden School book. For continuity I regularly refer to previous books and picking up from there, I was amused by a conversation between Peter and Millie. Married for twenty years and revealing subtle signs of disconnect, the scene reveals a lot about who they are as individuals within the togetherness of their marriage.
When I read that scene out to my husband during the editing phase he chuckled frequently. Apparently, I nailed the male psyche. I never asked myself whether I should go into deeper POV (point of view) as Millie, with whom I might better comprehend, or Peter. It came out from his perspective without effort. In my mind, there was this whole backstory (which I don't fully know yet) and out of that sprung this interaction. Rereading that bit intrigued me, like I wanted to find out more about their history. I love that Millie thrust a bottle of red table wine into her husband's hands and told him that only nice husbands and fathers get my vintage Spanish Rioja.
This is a dynamic I know nothing of. My parents didn't stay married into my teen years. They never shared wine at dinner. They never really shared dinner and definitely if we weren't around. I never witnessed a level of polite affection especially in the midst of disagreement, as displayed between these characters. Is it that I was being ideal or just developing them? I have no idea. I don't second guess or try to figure it out. I just write. Sometimes I re-read sections and swear I don't recall putting it in the book. Other times I know the characters really did tell me what to write, because I am the least convincing middle aged successful business man with a stroppy teenage son that you will ever meet. Promise.
Authors are strange.
And we don't always shower.
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