Struggling With Tension & Betrayal

Apologies for the long absence. I feel like I apologize a lot, but the truth is, this blog is quite far down on my list of priorities. So many other things come first, and if I don’t get around to writing a post, then I just don’t. This past week conspired against me. I’ve been fighting a head cold, and it’s hard to think coherently when you feel like your face is about to fall off and hit the floor. So, I’ve mostly vegged on the couch and watched old episodes of Supernatural.

I’ve also been trying my hand at something new. I’ve applied for a freelance writing position, and they’ve sent me writing assignments as part of the application process. It’s different for me, and hard to tailor the work to what they’re looking for, so a lot of my spare brainpower (which hasn’t been much lately) has been diverted to that.

But, I did manage to get a little bit of work done. And I’m struggling with it. I’m rounding out chapter 15 in my current fantasy project, and I’ve hit a snag that I just can’t seem to push through. My protagonist has been betrayed by his master, and they come face-to-face in this scene. Ideally, it should be full of drama and tension, and I’m not quite sure what to write for it. I need dialogue. The master needs to try to explain his actions, and  Callum needs to deal with his feelings and respond appropriately.

I also don’t know how much to tell. Originally, I planned to have the master monologue for a while, talking about his history with the antagonist and their past relationship. I tried writing it that way, and ended up deleting it. It just didn’t feel right. Now I’m thinking it should be brief. A few sentences, maybe a paragraph, tops. Something for Callum to think about, but not really get resolution from.

I know how the scene ends. Callum offers no forgiveness, but neither does he kill him. He lets him go on his way, and I’ve yet to decide if they meet again or not. Callum has mixed feelings. His master has been a father figure to him, and his betrayal cuts deep. But at the same time, he can’t bring himself to raise his hand against him. It’s a complicated scene, and it feels like nothing I write does it justice.

I’m going to give it another go tonight. Hopefully I can wrap it all up with just a couple hundred words. I last worked on it 2 nights ago, when my head was so congested I was having trouble stringing two thoughts together. My head is clearer tonight, and with the time away maybe I’ll have more luck.

Talk to me in the comments. What scenes do you struggle to write? How do you get through them?

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