Thursday, June 24, 2010

I am a sick bitch

I’d been wanting to write one particular scene in On a Twisted Tree for a while. It’s a really tough, really raw scene, so I put it off for a while as it developed in my mind. I finally sat down to write part of it last night and ended up doing the whole thing. It involves Lindsay coming across his brother, Cary, after he’s been paralyzed in a hunting accident. (No spoilers there, really.) It’s really gelled his character for me, and gelled their relationship.

Yikes. That was tough. I tried to capture that disconnected feeling you get during a tragedy, where half of you is numb and half of you is just rotting with dread because you know. I hope I did it in a way that communicates that feeling.

I’ve discovered that I like (although”like” is a strange word) to delve into the moments that make and break characters. I push them into the absolute worst moments of their lives and force them (and me) to live those moments. I can’t write a character as well as I want to until I can see and experience, through writing, the moments that have formed them as people. I also tend to explore the various tiny ways people can be good and cruel to one another, and this scene (this story) is full of those.

A teaser:
“Roll him,” Wade said. “Do it gentle.”
Lindsay did, moving to Cary’s other side and grabbing him around the middle. He’d barely lifted Cary’s hip from the ground when he let out a low cry from deep in his chest. Lindsay cursed and let go. “What hurts, Care? What hurts?”
“Don’t move me,” Cary begged. “Just let me be.”
Lindsay’s throat tightened. “I’m sorry, brother. I got to. We got to get you to the hospital.” He put his hand on Cary’s hip again.
“Don’t!” It was a scream, like a fiddle with a broken string. The sound rattled Lindsay badly, and he couldn’t force himself to do it, just knelt there. Paralyzed.
“Lindsay,” Wade said behind him. “Turn him.”
“It hurts him!”
“Do it!” Dad’s scream this time, almost as harsh as Cary’s.
Later, Lindsay would wonder why he had been forced to do it.
“I’m sorry,” he choked out. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
To belabor a point, the idea I was trying to get across here is that Lindsay, the son, is forced to purposefully hurt his brother (even if it’s in the interest of helping him) while Dad stands back and watches. This is something Lindsay will never forget, even if he eventually forgives himself for it.

This is the kind of stuff I like to write. I am a sick bitch that way.

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