When the words don’t work

Today I started working on the next section of Mara’s story.  I’ve figured out how she’s raised, but I haven’t written any of it yet.  I thought it would be a good project for this afternoon.

The first sentence wasn’t bad.  The rest were mediocre at best.  After two paragraphs, I gave it up as a poor job and decided to come back to it later.

Perhaps the holiday music playing was distracting me.  Maybe the discomfort I have with the situation I’m writing is inhibiting me.  Most likely, it’s because I haven’t fully developed the concept yet and I was writing prematurely.

I know what’s going to happen from a broad strokes type of approach.  I haven’t really considered the little details, so writing them is more challenging.  The biggest difficulty is point of view.  I want the first impressions of the girl to come from others, before she starts to develop into her full personality.  That means writing from the point of view of the wife of the slave trader, at first, and then from at least one (and probably more) of the women awaiting sale.  At the same time I need these women to be fairly anonymous, so I don’t want to develop their characters too deeply.  Their lives, simply by the situation they find themselves in, make them somewhat invisible to society.  They are also non-entities to Mara when we switch to her point of view, due to the way she was brought up.  I want to create that feeling with the reader even when we see things from their eyes.  Thus the challenge: get into their personalities enough to write from their perspective without really revealing anything about them to the reader in the process.

No wonder I’m having trouble!  Perhaps articulating this challenge here will make it more approachable; at least now I’ve figured out what I’m facing.

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