Saturday, April 13, 2013

Listen and Learn

To your characters. This is what I ended up with when I actually let my fingers take me where my protagonist wanted to go. He’d been telling me he was too tepid and very much too one dimensional. This scene changed that only because I finally opened my ears and listened.
“Come on Bell, what’s with all the ‘sir’s?”  Carter’s look covered Rae Bell’s small body like a skin tight dress and couldn’t have been more deliberate. Thain, watching her hold back her anger, almost went off himself on Carter. It wasn’t hard for him to get riled whenever the DI opened his mouth.
“Just doing my job,” Rae Bell answered, sitting back down at the table.
Carter took a step closer to her. “Why don’t you explain this report to me over coffee downstairs?”
“She’s got better things to do,” Thain said, no longer able to make his tongue behave. “You do know, I suppose, how to read a report, sir? We are here to answer any questions you might have, when you’re ready.” Thain clipped the sentence as if with sheers. Then he too, sat down, as if daring the DI to say something. Mistake, because he did.
“Stand at attention, D.S. Thain.”
Thain slowly moved to his feet.
“What is your problem, D.S. Thain? Since when do you ride safety over DS Bell?”
“Since she’s on my team, sir.”
“Oh? Does she need protection from her commanding officer on that same team?”
“With the look you gave her, apparently, sir.” Thain kept rubbing that ‘sir’ in.
DI Carter said through clenched teeth, “I’ve reason enough to kick you off this team right now.”
“And that reason would be…what, sir?”
“Insubordination, talking back to a higher ranking officer, to start.”
Thain would have enjoyed this interchange if it had been anywhere or anytime but here and now, and not with so many witnesses that were on his team, just like the last time. The deadline hanging over their heads already charged the room with stress they all felt.
“I’m sorry, sir, if I pissed you off.”
“That’s it,” Carter roared, throwing down the report on the table in a dramatic gesture. He took a step toward Thain. Someone pushed the door open and DCI North stepped into the room.
“What the bloody hell is going on here?”

Don’t think anyone would mistake Thain for milk toast here, do you? Glad I’m starting to listen. This scene almost wrote itself because I finally heard him telling me what to write.

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  1. Great post Lisa thank you! So often when we really listen we hear other things that surprise us and if we allow those voices it is truer and more real and we learn - a lot! No milque toast is Thain .. o no no ...

    Susan Scott's Soul Stuff

    1. Thanks Susan, and for the reminder on milk!

  2. Definitely not a bland or weak character for sure, here.

    It's a good thing you did listen...makes for a better scene :)

    Left and Write

    1. Thank you Mark, glad you think he's got a back bone. I hadn't realized that when I first wrote about him...

  3. I'm glad you listened, and made Thain a stronger character. Weakness just isn't an appealing trait.


    1. So very true, in real life too!

  4. I love it when the characters take over the writing. So satisfying :-)

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain


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