One morning a few weeks ago, I woke to a character talking in my head. No, I am not crazy. It is just one of those things that occasionally happen to authors as we are working through the writing process. The event happens more often when I am working on a novel.
This particular character plays the hero in my latest work-in-process, Rumpled Rhett. A big, muscular, dangerous huntsman, Rhett excels in using various weaponry forms and is known far and wide for his skills as a tracker and mercenary. All things considered, I was a bit surprised at his demand.
Rhett: The socks must go.
Me: What? (I hadn’t had my morning tea yet and my head was a bit fuzzy still.)
Rhett: Cat’s socks must go. They are made up of more holes than socks. They are unsanitary, not to mention worthless.
Me: You do realize I described them that way because they serve as a symbol of her life in her father’s house. There he neglected, abused, and—
Rhett: They must be destroyed! I am going to burn them.
Me: What? Those are the only socks she has! How am I going to find a way to replace them? You can’t let her wander around with bare feet in the middle of winter. And medieval rural societies don’t have much in the way of premade excess goods. We will need wool. Do you have access to wool? Can she knit? Can you knit? Is knitting even historically accurate? What about crotchet?
Rhett: … (Eyes me as I continue to panic) Are you done?
Me: No! You can’t burn her socks! There are so many reasons why you can’t. Smallest of which is I can’t figure out how to replace them.
Rhett: I have that one covered. What are your other reasons?
Me: You will traumatize her. She isn’t even comfortable around you yet. If you go whipping off her socks, she isn’t going to handle that well.
Rhett: (Shrugs) She hasn’t exactly been acting like a rabbit so far.
Me: She is fragile, emotionally traumatized. Healing takes time. Such an unexpected move on your part will undermine her trust in you. You can’t go invading her space and destroying her personal clothing.
Rhett: I can if I do it right.
Me: Right how?
Rhett: Figuring out the details is your job. I just stick to being me. The socks are going to burn.
Me: You are supposed to be earning her trust not destroying her clothing!
Rhett: I am earning her trust. I promised that I would take care of her and I will, beginning with the socks.
Me: (Groans) Where are the new socks coming from?
Rhett: I have an extra pair.
Me: Okay … (Mulls it for a few minutes) I might be able to work with that. They are good, thick socks, right?
Rhett: Anything less would be impractical. One can’t go tramping far without some quality socks.
Me: (Sighs) Fine. You can take the socks.
Rhett: I shall burn them.
Despite all of this negotiation and planning, I couldn’t write thanks to the miscellaneous necessary life tasks. Life happens, and I don’t always get to write when I wish. I spent two days with Rhett in my head, randomly reminding me that he would be burning Cat’s socks in the next scene.
Rest assured, the socks did burn the next time I sat down to write. Rhett saw to it. Also, Cat wasn't pleased at first.
At least, my life is never boring.