Maybe it’s because I’m on vacation. (Um, yeah, btw, we’re in North Carolina for the week with the hubby’s parents…) Hard to get any solid writing done.
Or maybe it’s because I’m writing a Saeli/Brendan conflict scene, and that’s harder to do from Saeli’s head. I dunno. It ought to be easier, because I’ve got a solid pipeline to Saeli’s internal state of mind. But for some reason, I’m having a hard time generating the necessary emotion to make this scene work. The scene needs to happen, and it needs to happen onscreen. It escalates the tension between Saeli and Brendan, so that Brendan’s later drug experimentation and subsequent explosion at Saeli makes sense. Otherwise, Brendan is going to look like he’s overreacting, and the reader isn’t going to have a clear idea why.
However, maybe I’m trying to milk it too much. Maybe it needs to be extremely short, and maybe Brendan actually holds back a lot of what he’d like to say. I was going to have this fight undermine a lot of the confidence Saeli has just gained in Raphel…but reading that just now, I’m realizing that I can’t do that. I mean, we’ve just had a big reveal in the story. I’ve turned Saeli’s world upside down, and she needs to ride that for a while. Her thoughts need to marinate before I dump the next big thing on her.
And to some extent, I want Brendan’s blow-up at the graduation party to shock Saeli. She needs to know he’s upset, but I don’t think she or the reader needs to know just how much the boyfriend thing has been eating at him until it all comes out. Brendan’s pain is a major consequence of her joining forces with Raphel, and as such, it needs to hit her at the appropriate time.
So this little fight needs to be short and bitter, but not too intense. What needs to be revealed at this point?
-Brendan thinks Saeli has a boyfriend. Because:
-Brendan ran into Cara while looking for Saeli. Cara, concerned because Saeli hasn’t returned to campus yet, and feeling guilty about lying to Brendan in the first place, tells him the truth and sends him after her. This, perhaps, will also create a little tension between Cara and Saeli. Saeli’s going to have to keep lying to keep Raphel a secret, and this will have the effect of isolating her from her Mantle friends.
-Brendan was coming to tell Saeli that he’s earned the gold and white, and that they’ll be Anjahel together. Finding out that she tricked him in order to sneak off campus to meet a boyfriend has completely ruined this much anticipated moment for him. Thus, he is not happy.
However, the crux of his anger is not specifically that Saeli has a boyfriend. Rather, he thinks she had a boyfriend when they talked in the infirmary, and he thinks she deliberately kept it from him. He also assumes that’s why she tricked him in order to sneak off campus. Brendan is feeling like he’s being played by the girl he likes, and that really hurts. I think that’s the reveal I need to save for the graduation party. Let Saeli assume Brendan is mainly mad about the sneaking out, and then let the truth come out later, at the worst possible moment.
I think I know where this scene needs to go now. Note to self…if a scene is going slowly, maybe there’s something functionally wrong with it, and I need to step back and analyze what I’m doing.