What they want, what I want

I recently posted Chapter 9 of Rhythm and the Blue Line. If you’d like, go ahead and read to catch up. There may be spoilers here. It’s okay, I can wait. 🙂

*waiting*

Okay, I can’t wait anymore. Hope you’re back. I spent a lot of time on this chapter, more than I expected and definitely more than I wanted. I hate having big lags between chapters, and I’m sure you all know from previous comments that my lag had its origins in Ch 7, which underwent a lot of rewriting before I finally posted, and then the 2011 holidays threw me further off track. When I could at last get to chapter 9, I was glad, but let me tell you — that first scene gave me fits (and my beta reader too, no doubt).

It was a good experience overall, though, and hopefully the next time I need to write a scene like that, I will know what to do. Feedback has been positive and all I can say to that is thanks so much. But there’s a “but.” You knew there would be, didn’t you? The “but” is summed up like this: Brody should’ve knock her dad on his ass though!

I see it as a white-knight syndrome. At the risk of spoilers (last warning), let me sum up the scene. Ryan is waiting for Brody to pick her up after work. While she waits, her father unexpectedly confronts her and accuses her of advising her younger brother to throw away a professional basketball career. An argument ensues in which Ryan’s father pulls no punches in criticizing her — he calls her best friend a slut, insults the music she creates, and says all her friends are drug addicts. Ryan doesn’t hold back on her end either, and somewhere towards the end of the to-do, Brody comes up.

Several readers have commented as the one above — they wanted Brody to step up and defend/protect Ryan. Admittedly, I could have gone that way, but why? Why can’t Ryan stand up for herself? Why does she need to be rescued? I mean, this is a young woman who has spent a long time striking out on her own path, fighting her parents’ disapproval all the way. She’s hardly a shrinking violet or damsel in distress. So I think when Ryan says to her dad, “I’m fucking finished with you!” , that’s about all that really needs to be said.

As I wrote the scene, it’s hard to tell how much of everything Brody heard. I don’t think that was intentional, but that’s how it turned out. Another reader thought Brody was too passive, especially for an athlete who plays a fast, hard game like hockey. My beta reader’s take was that athletes are disciplined; they know when to step in and when not to. Brody thought his places was not in the middle, but beside Ryan, to offer support. This is not as proactive as clocking her dad, but it doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do. And if Brody isn’t entirely sure what he walked in on, then I think it’s pretty reasonable that he’s not going to get between a father and his daughter. I also think it shows some respect for Ryan, that Brody knows she can handle herself. It’s not for him to step in and defend her honor — she’s capable of that herself.

So if what I wrote wasn’t what you expected, well, I guess I can’t do much about that. All the same, I hope you enjoyed it.

And I’m working on Ch 10, I promise!

 

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8 responses to this post.

  1. I thought the story was excellent how it was written. It sort of made all thoughts visible to the other between parent and child and gave Ryan the confidence that her dad needed to see and food for thought of how he raised his kids. This situation is definitely a hard one to write as it can go both ways. I think Brody would have been in the wrong to step in before he did as this was a clearing of the air argument that had been boiling for a long time. Next time he definitely needs to be the knight in shining armor.

    Reply

    • Thanks, Andy. 🙂 It’s good to know someone got what I was trying to do. Actually I figure most people did. And I understand why some wanted that, at least I hope so. Presumably they sympathize with Ryan and they want someone to help her. And Brody does help her, just in different ways.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Lady Falcon on May 24, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I know I left a comment on Lit and I am pretty sure I said Ryan did a great job defending herself and even being a bit offensive. It was good to see her do that and probably good for herself as well.

    I love Brody. He isn’t the type to jump in there and start throwing punches unless its fully warranted at least that is not the impression I have so far. However he seemed more hesitant or “playing it safe” than usual in his conversation with Ryan afterwards. Maybe he figured she just needed the quiet understanding from him or maybe he still can’t wrap his head around a father treating his children this way. IDK.

    I do know I enjoy your writing and that since I don’t know what plans you have for Brody and Ryan that I can’t see what the big picture is going to be. And I know you like to write realistically (and I like that about you) but, I live a realistic life and when I read sometimes I just want to escape to white knights and strong queens. I said queens not little girl princesses. Anyways, I need to get up and get going or I’ll be late for work.

    Take Care and keep writing. 🙂 Please.

    Reply

    • Chapter 10 is underway as we speak. Honestly, there should not be lag as there was before. Okay, some of it depends on my beta reader, but still. 🙂

      I actually like the white knights, as I said. I do enjoy a story myself where the guy takes the woman’s side and lets her antagonists know that in no uncertain terms. However, what I’ve found I really like is when the woman discovers some strength she didn’t realize she had, and the guy helps her find it, or is there for support when she first taps into it.

      Brody had never really seen Ryan like this before, hence his tentativeness afterwards. But he was just trying to give her some room, I think, and not pressure her.

      Reply

  3. Posted by blue on May 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    i just still can’t wrap my head around how shitty ryan’s father treats her…i’ve been through what ryan has with my mom although not to the extent with her father…it has been better recently, our relationship but the guilt is still there for “disappointing” her and the feeling of inadequacy has never gone away…but i liked the way ryan stood up for herself…being aggressive as she was i think was the only way to stand up to her father. if he still doesn’t have a realization after that, he’s one lousy parent, so with ryan’s mom for allowing it to happen. i hope ryan’s band make it big 🙂

    Reply

    • If ind this interesting. I’ve worried a bit about making Jim too exaggerated, too over-the-top, but I’ve gotten some feedback — like yours — that tells me I’m not too far off the mark. And that is too bad. The truth is, Jim Bancroft isn’t a bad guy — he didn’t abuse his kids, he took care of them, he has some issues, etc. He’s also kind of stuck in a rut and doesn’t know what to do with Ryan and that comes out as anger and disappointment.

      I wanted Ryan to stand up for herself because although I admit I like my white knights, I like my damsels to show a little white-knight-ness themselves. 🙂

      Reply

  4. Posted by Bob Galinsky on May 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    You got the scene just right.

    For a comedic view of a woman finding her voice and her strength check out the You Tube video “The Ivy League Shuffle” by Nikki Muller. It is hilarious and several universities in your area are prominently featured.

    BobBG

    Reply

  5. Posted by Andrea on June 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I agree with you and your beta reader. Not only does Ryan truly and fully deal with her father’s confrontation, but Brody shows his respect and support by simply standing beside her. His presence alone is all that was needed.
    This is a great story. I, too, will be glad to see the final chapter. I liked watching these characters come together and develop, but it is time to move on.

    Thank you for sharing your talent. I find myself falling into your stories and becoming part and parcel of the action.

    Reply

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