Let it Cook

Cooking. Again.

My chapter is cooking.

Not unusual. Always write like that. Disparate pieces gathered in the supermarket, the coffee shop, sitting in a quiet chair in the corner. The pieces wait. Until actions make movement make scenes. And finally a new chapter happens. Always some stress. What if it doesn’t work this time? What if I can’t do it anymore? But I work, and in the end surprise myself.

This time? Re-write. Chapters 2 & 3.

It’s scary. The scene exists. The characters exist. And the flow itself is:

flat.

Boring.

So, I need to redo it. I’ve lots of excuses. I didn’t know those characters then, I invented as I went. I didn’t really even know how to write at the time. I’ve learned so much since. Now I’m going back to almost the beginning—even changed the beginning a bit, what a relief, that worked—and I’m petrified. This chapter has to live up to the beginning and all those that follow. But it has to be better.

Images. Feelings. Sentences and scenes. All swirl. Simmer in a big pot. But they’re not done. The pieces stand away from one another, and I think of each separately and worry it’ll never work. I introduce characters more slowly this time, to give the audience a chance to feel each. I try the redhead first. No, no depth there. She is a shallow character and the only reaction from the protagonist is jealousy.

Then I try again. Maggie. Big. Awkward Maggie who nevertheless is the most human in the book. I rewrite the scene with her.

And now I have two versions and doubt every moment of every word. Not something I usually do. In my head I rework the order again and again. Finally I reread both. Maggie is superior. More depth. More feeling. More empathy.

Or maybe it’s because it’s the second writing and practice makes it better.

I don’t know. It’s only a page in a word processing document.

But Maggie is my girl.

Maggie. Large. Awkward. And kind of dense.

She spends most of her time cleaning. Caring for children. And cooking.

But Maggie is It.

Maggie. I love you. 

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