Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Secrets Revealed

Kidron Valley, Israel

Tomb of Abshalom, Kidron Valley

After a spell where I wasn't writing much in my solo work in progress (long story that I'll explain some other time), I've found my muse again, and have gotten back into the writing. From here on in, it's a matter of writing towards the end game, so to speak. What I've called the Very Bad Thing (no, I'm not telling) has happened, and the fallout has led to shots already being fired between opposing armies.

Where I've recently left off before the weekend was a scene that spanned three pages, at the end and beginning of two chapters, and it was a difficult scene to write. My main characters, along with a group of police officers, meet with a man in a hospital during a building crisis, a man who has information. He's also dying of cancer, and has a few weeks at most to live.

When I introduced the character early on, I knew I'd be bringing him back for just this purpose. He's held onto a secret for a long time, for what he honestly felt were the right reasons. Now, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, he realizes that secret might well have something to do with how it was accomplished, and he wants to unburden himself to the authorities, to make it right. Call it what you will; a guilty conscience put to rest, though the man himself is guilty of nothing.

I knew as I started writing the sequence just what kind of information had to be conveyed in the scene. What made it difficult to write was another matter entirely. The patient is in pain, wanting to keep a clear mind so that he can tell the authorities what he knows. And so he's refraining from sedatives and painkillers, despite the pain it causes, until he can reveal his secret.

I wanted to write him and convey that pain. That meant clearly showing a man fighting against the disease in his body, trying to rally the failing strength to speak. And writing this character meant doing something that was difficult on a personal level. As I wrote the scene, I was reminded of my late brother, who passed away several years ago of cancer. It's actually the second time in the book I had that experience; an earlier character reminded me very much of him.

Now the scene is written, and my group of spies are armed with a very big piece of the puzzle they've been putting together. Where they go from here is a matter yet to come. I'm enjoying writing it though...


  1. You've done a spectacular job on this novel, William. Most first novels don't turn out well (I'm never been happy with mine), but you've got a winner here.

    And for anyone willing to pay enough, I do know what the Very Bad Thing is....

  2. Aw, come have to tell the very least...I'm your bestest best best best can tell me!!! Puuuulllleeeze???

    Just kidding. Can't wait to read this book, too! Sounds very interesting. I'm sorry that some scenes may have been difficult to write, but sometimes, I guess, we need to feel pain or hurt just as much as our characters. Great job!

  3. The best writing comes from the author's feelings for their characters. You know that, Beth!

  4. When you have to watch someone you care about suffer, it forever leaves a mark. I'm glad you were able to get through that painful passage and share it with others.

  5. Sounds like you're writing from a deep place...
    but that kitty freaks me out.

  6. I'm looking forward to your book. It's never easy to pull from the soul, but, oh, so worth it.

    Thanks for your comment...yes, actually, there was a burning bush at St. Catherine's Monastery - which the monks claimed was grafted from the original - Just before the bush (someone has to point it out or you keep going) is the charnal house -- bones from previous generations of monks. Sixty Minutes did a segment on the place some years ago...not too many monks's all rather dry and dusty and remote.

    Love your pics. Could identify.

  7. Goodness, I can't imagine losing a sibling. I lost my father. My protagonist loses family and it helps to draw from those experiences. It can be healing sometimes.
    I'm w/Norma. I think it'll be above average for a first novel. Excellent character development, and seems like you really have a good handle on the structure.

    @Norma...spill it!

  8. This book sounds so good. Knowing you, it is an amazing read.

  9. Don't you just love the possibilities? It's the best thing about writing.

    My blog's disappeared so my temporary home is here!

  10. Oh I love it when that happens! Coolness. And that cat pic is hysterical.

  11. Sounds really amazing--and what a cool way to honor your brother, too--making another cancer sufferer a hero!
    Sometimes the best writing we do is when we open up to our own fear and pain and memories. I'm sure this chapter will sparkle.

  12. @Norma: Shhhhh!!!!!

    @Beth: Patience, patience...

    @Karla, Betsy, Donna: Thanks!

    @Talli: Fortunately your blog came back. Bloody internet site gremlins...

    @Eve: I initially looked for humorous pictures of secrets, and found lots of Victoria Secrets pictures. So I went for funny spy... and there was the kitty.

    @Kittie: I've heard of the monastery before...

    @Christina: Thank you! And no, Norma's not going to spill it, even for chocolate.


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