The novel is going well, and I’m over the 50,000 word mark, climbing steadily towards 60,000. The story arc is starting to plateau, and I can nearly see the endgame ahead of me. Nearly.

But there is a problem.

The main character and I are having a bit of an argument. An altercation, if you will. Sky, being wilful, has just dumped me in the middle of a writing situation that I’m not entirely sure how to get out of. It happens, sometimes.

“Oh, Sky, why did you have to go and do that?” I moan. “You know I know this place as well as you do, i.e., not very well. Running away into the darkest depths of a strange city is not the answer.”

Sky shrugs, and flicks her long red hair back contemptuously. “You wrote me into this situation with Felix. How did you expect me to react? Anyway, I thought this was the pattern in novels. The fight or flight syndrome. It’s part of a character’s development. When I stop running and fight, you’ll know you’ve done a good job.”

“If Jay finds out, he’ll be worried about you,” I say, hastily changing the subject. When characters start lecturing you on writing techniques, you know you’ve spent too much time around them. “And he’s not exactly in the best place right now, either.”

Another shrug. “It’s called conflict. I thought you were supposed to be able to use that. And anyway, you wrote Jay into that situation as well. You’ve messed things up for both of us, so what are you going to do about getting us out?”

“Um, conflict, remember?” I take full advantage of the opportunity to be smug. “You’re my character. You’ll get out eventually, but you won’t believe what I’m going to put you through before the end.”

Sky’s eyes widen in shock. She’s very good at the wide-eyed expression. “What? It gets worse?

“Uh-huh.”

Now she has a determined, slightly crazed look in her eyes. “Just tell me – me and Felix, we’re the OTP, right? Okay, there’s drama, but it’s drama of the safely non-life-threatening variety, right? I mean, Felix doesn’t die, does he?”

I sniff non-committally. “What kind of author would I be if I answered those questions right now? It’s the equivalent of stopping exactly where I am and slapping on a great big ‘And they all lived happily ever after, THE END’ type clause. It’s not gonna happen. I’m the author, and that gives me the right to be an evil bitch sometimes.” I look at her out of the corner of my eye, take in her ‘shocked and appalled’ face and grin.

Yes, I’m evil.

She starts to sniff. “You’re mean. I’m in a vulnerable position right now, lost in the middle of a strange city.”

I sigh and roll my eyes, folding my arms. “As I recall, you were the one that ran off, which is where this whole argument began.” Seeing her expression, I hastily change tack. “Look, Sky, please just relax. I’m only winding you up.”

She looks up and smiles hopefully. “So … nothing bad happens?”

I put a comforting arm around her narrow shoulders. “You and Felix are my darlings.”

“Um, don’t they say you should ‘murder your darlings’, in writing?”

“I know what I’m doing. Now please, please tell me how I can get you out of this mess that you’ve just run into.”

She doesn’t look happy. “I don’t believe this. You’re only on the first draft. You’ll probably write out this entire episode in the second draft, and what will all this be for? You’ll have put me through all this drama for nothing!”

I smile serenely at her, squeezing her shoulders a little. “That’s a risk I’m willing to take on your behalf.”

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