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More Conflict!

This on-again-off-again work diary is designed for my own benefit, but I hope you are enjoying it as well. If you’re not, well, too bad. Here’s another installment.

In Melanie’s last chapter, Cody and Autumn come to see each other’s merits, and smile at each other as the sun shines. Reading it over, I pursed my lips. No! I thought. This is too easy, I thought. What’s the point of making nice – stories work when things go wrong. We’re going to have to re-engage. More conflict! More bad news! More meanness, deception, misunderstanding!

So I thought.

But what happened? I sat down with a stern expression and wrote the first line of my chapter. Sunday is one of the best days of Cody’s life.

Understand – I did not mean to write that. It grew naturally out of me, like hair or fingernails, or a goiter. It emerged like sweat. I shook my head and channeled my inner Samuel Beckett. The tears of the world are a constant quantity, I thought. You’re on earth. There’s no cure for that, I thought. We’re all born mad. Some of us remain so.

I tried. I really did. But I failed (a very Becket experience, come to that). When I finished my chapter I found I had … well … given Cody a nice time all day long. He gets some new clothes, plays a board game, practises his drawing.

Nothing bad happens.

My inner workings resemble that patched-together DIY spaghetti clump of illegal wiring up there. It’s hard to follow what is going on – why the lights work sometimes and not others. In this case, the lights are on. I like the chapter. So I won’t mess with it now. But something has go wrong soon. Plot-wise, I’m holding a grenade with the pin out.

I decide to hand the grenade to Melanie. The last sentence of the chapter reads: Sure enough, trouble starts the moment they get to the schoolyard.

The joys of co-authoring.


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