“Break it down again …”

Dear Story,

I know! How about we change POVs and tell an entirely different story set at an entirely different time?

What? It wouldn’t be the first time.

Besides, I never delete anything. We can always change things back later.

(But we won’t.)



Dear Character I’ve Been Assuming Was Way Too Powerful to be a POV,

Maybe I just need to throw bigger rocks at you?

(I’m sure I have a few around here somewhere.)



Dear Characters I’m Just Getting to Know Again,

Well, at least now I know why I never let you kiss before.

It’s because once you start, you just don’t want to stop. You sure you don’t want to get a room?

(Oh, right, you did. It’s just that I can see through walls. Umm, sorry about that.)



Dear Character I’ve Been Assuming Etc.,

No, bigger than that.

(Much bigger.)


The trouble is, there are many voices here

Dear Possible Future Protagonist,

Then again, maybe it’s not you after all.

No, no, don’t go away! I’m thinking, that’s all.

I don’t suppose you can give me a few weeks? I’ll get back to you, I promise.

Just don’t go anywhere,



Dear Past and Possible Future Protagonist,

Okay, you have one more chance, but I need to see some personality here.

For you, and for everyone else in your world, too.

It’s not that this relationship can’t be saved. Maybe it can, but first we have to figure out where exactly it went wrong.

Help me out here, okay?


Beginning to listen for other voices

Me: I know you.
Possible Future Protagonist: I don’t think so.
Me: I told your story once.
PFP (shakes head): No, not mine.
Me: Yeah, well–sorry about that. I didn’t know it was your story.
PFP (looks at me, a keen glint–a don’t-waste-my-time glint–in her eyes)
Me: You know, it’s disconcerting when you do that.
PFP (keeps doing it)
Me: I didn’t know it was your story, okay? I only knew it wasn’t working.
PFP: It began with me. How could you not know?
Me: I knew enough to stop sending it out. Years ago. That’s something, right?
PFP: You told a story about outsiders. Peasants. Foreigners.
Me: You’re a foreigner.
PFP: I could kill you for that.
Me (laughing): Yeah, I’d like to see you explain that to the Council.
PFP (not laughing): You’re a foreigner. There’d be nothing to explain.
Me: To be fair, it began with her, too.
PFP: That’s not my problem
Me: It’s totally your problem. That’s the point.
PFP: Listen, you don’t even have my voice right yet. I wouldn’t even be saying any of this.
Me: Except the part about killing me.
PFP (hides a small smile): Yeah, except for that. But you’re not done with your current protagonist. You have no business talking to me. Come back when you’re serious, okay?
Me: You know I’m right.
PFP: You don’t know you’re right. And I have things to do. Besides, those other protagonists of yours? They’re all idiots. Keeping quiet. Fearing to act. Hesitating to wield what power they have.
Me: Show me, then.
PFP: Show you what?
Me: How to get it right.