Monday, January 16, 2017

My struggles with Samantha


I'm having a hard time getting moving on my next novel. Robrek is going to be absent for most of the novel, and it will focus on Samantha. Samantha has always been harder for me to write than Robrek. Partially because the fairy tales was about Robbie with Samantha as an unnamed prize, so I had to make her story up from scratch. Partially because I struggle with the desire to present women as flawless feminist icons. Women have been portrayed in literature too often as weak bimbos, and I feel a desire to make up for this slander of my gender. However, flaws are what makes a character interesting, and an icon isn't a character and isn't interesting. And I think partially because of my love for the tortured soul. Robrek is a tortured soul. Samantha is not. There may be other factors in play as well, but I have not to do a lot more rewriting on Samantha than I ever have on Robrek.

I had an idea for the novel, but I found my idea had a fatal flaw. It bored me. Being bored with your own work is a sign of tremendous trouble. If it doesn't interest you, it certainly isn't going to interest anyone else. So I've had to go back to the drawing board. I hope to have better news in coming weeks, but for now, enjoy Samantha's first scene in the as yet unnamed novel.

The Queen Samantha looked down from the palace battlements into the garden below, her right hand resting on her swollen belly. She’d give birth any day now.
Six months ago when Robbie had been brought back alive, she was certain that everything would be fine. She hadn’t care that he was disfigured, and it didn’t matter to her when the other healers said they could no longer feel his power, that it seemed to have been burned out of him. Even without his exotic good looks and his magic, he was the man she loved. All that mattered was that they would still be together. But when he’d regained consciousness, he failed to acknowledge her, acknowledge anyone or anything. It was almost as if his soul had died although his body still breathed and his heart beat. Having him here but not recognizing her was almost worse than not having him at all. The healers had tried to bring him back, but they said there was nothing inside they could hang onto, nothing within him that responded to their magic.
The door opened, and Slathek, Robbie’s uncle, stepped out onto the battlement. She nodded to her guards to allow him to approach, then quickly looked away. His eyes were black instead of green, but otherwise, he looked like a slightly older version of the man she loved. It hurt to see him healthy and well when her beloved was gone.
Slathek bowed. “Your Majesty.”
“Uncle.” The title brought a surge of pain. The last one she’d called “uncle” had betrayed her, and she’d been forced to have him beheaded. This uncle wanted to take Robbie from her.
“Still no change?” he asked.
“None.” She blinked back tears.
“Let me take him home with me,” he asked, not for the first time. “In Mahngbhayo magic is stronger. Perhaps the healers there can find a way to heal him.”
She shook her head. “When Brianna is born, everything will be fine. He can’t fail to acknowledge his newborn daughter. She will bring him back.” All her hopes rested on this slim hope. The healers all said Brianna had powerful magic. It was different than theirs, they said, and they didn’t understand its shape, but as the daughter of an aurora and a healer, her magic would be strong. That power combined with the natural love between parent and child would draw Robbie back from wherever he’d gone, would make him truly alive again.
“If Brianna fails to bring him back, if she can’t, will you let him go with me?”
“She won’t fail.” Samantha turned and stalked off. She couldn’t have this hope questioned. It was the one thread she’d been grasping since the day Robbie woke up and failed to say her name.