“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have ‘essential’ and ‘long overdue’ meetings on those days. […] Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance.”
― J.K. Rowling

Let Me Be Your Muse

This guest post is by Joy Collado. Joy is a freelance writer and author from the Philippines. Follow Joy on her blog, joybcolladowrites.com, and on Twitter (@JoyCollado).

You’ve been working on your novel. You know you have strong characters and a great plot. You’re even excited to plan about your book promotion. The problem is, you still have dozens of chapters yet to write. Where are you going to find inspiration?

Your Muse

Creative Commons License Photo by mark sebastian (Creative Commons)

Every night before you sleep, you see your story unfold right before your eyes. But when you sit down to write, words just don’t seem to come out easy. Meanwhile, your unfinished novel is aging in your hard drive, waiting for you to unleash its powerful characters, picturesque of worlds, as you figure out how to summon your muse.

Instead of looking for outside forces to inspire you, why not look into your character and let him be your Muse?

Three Tips to Let Your Character Be Your Muse

Nobody knows your characters more than you do. You know their secrets, dreams, fears and even their favorite expressions or gestures. Use this to your advantage.

As you look into each of your character’s eyes, it will be impossible for you not to write. Especially since you’re writing about them in the first place. Here are three tips to allow your character to be your muse.

1. Your Character Talks, You Write

Everyone has their own story. So what’s your character’s story? Write down everything that he or she tells you. Be attentive as he or she opens up.

Ask yourself you accurately captured her emotions and reactions. Let her real personality show. Don’t explain her own story to her. Instead, let her tell you her story. Your only job is to write.

2. Let Your Character Share His Or Her Values, Heartaches, Secrets, and Successes

In every story there is good and evil. We always strive for the good for ourselves, and your character probably does too. However, in his journey to find happiness, there will always be roadblocks. He has championed a lot of adversaries, learned so many life lessons, but without you to write those, how can he share it with the world?

He can’t do that alone. He needs you to write it down!

3. Now, Let Your Character Speak to the World

As a writer, you are your character’s voice to the world. If you don’t write her story, you’ve let her down. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that, you’ve betrayed her. You are her author, her life depends on you. Whether people will like his story or not doesn’t matter. What matters is being true to her as you write her story.

“Stories are meant to be shared.” – Joe Bunting

While stories are meant to be shared, first you have to write them. Next time you feel like your muse has stood you up, turn to your character. See the world through her eyes, and write what you see.

What do you think? Have you ever been inspired by your character?

PRACTICE

For fifteen minutes, write about how your character in your story (the good or bad guy, doesn’t matter) will feel if you don’t get back to writing his story.

When your time is up, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, be sure to leave feedback for other writers.

About Guest Blogger

This article is by a guest blogger. Would you like to write for The Write Practice? Check out our guest post guidelines.

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  • Excellent post, Joy! I love listening to my characters.

    Me father has been a drunk for most me life. Only in the past few years has he quit the comforts of the bottle for us. Most me life has been spent trying to sway his attention. So much of what I’ve done, I’ve done to earn his pride. I think me blacksmithin’ be getting better each day and I know he notices. Yet, I feel I must do something for him. He is full of pain and sorrow, though he never allows it to show. I want so much to find that one thing that I might do to make him smile again, to take away the pain throbbin’ in chest. That is why I will impersonate a guardsmen this night and travel with him unbenounced to the sewers below the city. When I’ve proven my skills in battle and slain a few of these dangerous creatures, then he will have cause to smile once more.

    Take care mother while I am gone.

    Torwyn

    • James, I like this. You have given your character’s motivation: to help his Dad. He also wants to gain his father’s approval, for him to be proud. Hence he wants to prove his “skills in battle”. Children put a lot of value in their parents’s approval. The question is, will he ever make the grade, or has his Dad already given up on life?

      I like the dialect of this piece, which adds personality to the piece from the start. Is this part of a longer passage?

      • Hehe. This is a prelude to an upcoming chapter in my book. I’m very excited about writing it.

    • I like it James!

      I agree with Katie. Your character’s desire for approval is obvious. It makes me want to read more about him and how his relationship with his Dad will turn out.

    • Hi James – it’s been a long time! I really like this piece. The voice feels authentic and I feel as though he is talking right to me in a kind of “let me tell you a story” way. First two lines are really strong and made me want to read on but I love most the vulnerability in this: ” I want so much to find that one thing that I might do to make him smile again, to take away the pain throbbin’ in chest”A lot of heart here – good job!

      • Thanks Margaret. I love to hear that this namely minor character’s problems are shining through. It is so wonderful to hear from you also!

  • Good post Joy.

    I never thought my characters would talk to me, until recently. I decided to take part in FebNaNo, an informal NaNoWriMo, which is an event on Twitter. Through doing this I’ve realised that the more I write, the more I have to listen. I have to be open to understand my characters’ hopes, dreams, fears. What are their strengths and flaws? What obstacles will they face along the way, on the pursuit of their dream? What lessons will they learn?

    Character is fate. If you know your characters well enough, you will have a greater understanding of how they are likely to react in any given situation. Consistency is the key.

    • When I rewrite my chapters into my medievalish dialog, I can hear Darowyn speak to me. I love it, to hear his voice in my head.

      No wonder those chapters always come out to be better, Darowyn tells me how to say everything!

    • thanks Katie! I only discovered this only recently too. I had a hard time finishing my novel and when I tried asking those questions, I had another reason to write and yes, I was able to finish the story. 🙂

      I agree, Character is fate.

  • Chloee

    I stare at the beaten wall of the living room as the moon light shines though the windows. They left me. Forgotten like a piece of trash. I form into a ball rock gently back and forth to calm myself. They weren’t coming back. I alone forever. I grabbed a vase and threw at the wall screaming like a wild animal. I brushed my red hair out of my face as I shook with anger. My mom and dad died. I rubbed my hands to keep warm in the cold house. The police came and told me they had died. Why did you do this to me. I screamed.
    Was I not good. Was it something I said. I’m sorry okay. I finally broke down and cried. The streams of tears fell off my face. They pain inside my heart was like ripping it out. I layed on the hard ground ready for death to swallow me.

    • I really felt the emotions in here Chloee. Thanks for sharing!

    • I could feel the emotion in this as well. I think you should stick with present tense and maintain an incomplete stream of consciousness. I feel the character is a child.

  • Eliese

    The world is motionless. The dazzling lit up ballroom is stuck on pause. People stare at walls, drinks, or their dancing partners. I was in the middle of proudly making my grand entrance down the marble staircase when everything stopped.

    When will things begin again? You must put your fingers on the keys, click the letters, and produce words so I dance the night away and fall in love. As much as this hurts to say, I can’t do anything without you.

    My story needs to be heard. It isn’t fair that ‘hers’ has already been told when I was there and not even mentioned once! Without me that classic tale would never have been written. I am stunning and important; who wouldn’t want to hear my side of things?

    Don’t let me rust in your memory. My future impatiently waits in your mind. Let the world fall in love with me. Bring me back to life.

    Please.

    • I love how you’ve portrayed the character begging the writer for attention.

      Don’t let your character’s feel this way. Tell their story!

      • Eliese

        I’m not sure why but when I edited something quick it posted twice. 😛 I am looking forward to telling her story. I’m glad you liked it! 🙂

    • love the last paragraph: “Don’t let me rust in your memory. My future impatiently waits in your
      mind. Let the world fall in love with me. Bring me back to life” I would read a book/story that began with this!

  • Eliese

    The world is motionless. The dazzling lit up ballroom is stuck on pause. People stare at walls, drinks, or their dancing partners. I was in the middle of proudly making my grand entrance down the marble staircase when everything stopped.

    When will things begin again? You must put your fingers on the keys, click the letters, and produce words so I dance the night away and fall in love. As much as this hurts to say, I can’t do anything without you.

    My story needs to be heard. It isn’t fair that ‘hers’ has already been told when I was there and not even mentioned once! Without me that classic tale would never have been written. I am stunning and important; who wouldn’t want to hear my side of things?

    Don’t let me rust in your memory. My future impatiently waits in your mind. Let the world fall in love with me. Bring me back to life.

    Please.

    Your character in waiting,

    Victoria Glass

    • Thanks for sharing Eliese, now that is a character talking. 🙂

      • Eliese

        Thanks! That’s what I was going for. 😀

        • Joanna Aislinn

          And accomplished it well 🙂

          • Eliese

            Thanks 😀

    • I really like how you put your characters world completely on hold. It’s how I imagined it too, as if they’re stuck in their motions the moment you dropped the pen.

      • Eliese

        Thanks so much Hanni!

  • Hey, you.

    Are you talking to me, miss?

    Yes. You’re the Chronicler, correct?

    I am.

    Well, tell me something: If you’re not writing, how am I going to do as Robilar says, and birth the new Gods of Time?

    Well, at the moment, you’re not going to be able to. Kronos will have to remain the sole Deity of Time.

    Won’t the Multiverse remain out of wack?

    It will, but you see, before I can continue your tale, I have to finish that of Sera Blake.

    Who is she?

    Carter’s sister. The Guardian of the Realm.

    It’s more important to protect the Realm than to balance the Multiverse?

    In a way, yes.

    How is that?

    Before the Multiverse can be balanced, Robilar has to meet you.

    I’ve already met him. How do you think I know what I’m supposed to do?

    Technically, you have met him, but at the same time, you have not.

    What?!

    I’m Chronicling your tale at the same time I’m writing Sera’s.

    Why?

    Because in Sera’s tale, we find out how Robilar came to your world. He can’t tell you anything if he’s not yet there.

    My head hurts.

    Imagine how I feel. I currently have eight different stories running around in my head, each wanting out at the same time. Plus, with the stuff I have to do here in my world…

    Well, hurry up. I have to get back to saving the Multiverse, and avenging –

    Stop! Say no more. People hate spoilers.

    • Eliese

      Hi. i like how you set up your story, and told the reader how you were feeling. Nice ending too!

    • Interesting discourse between writer and character. I’m still chasing the proverbial end of my book. I keep chasing that finish line, but I think it keeps moving further away.

      • If I may make a suggestion, James, stop chasing it.Your story is alive. Let it flow. You’ll know when it’s time to either write, “The End,” or “To Be Continued…” You may be wondering how you’ll know. The answer is: Your story will tell you.

        • I’m not necessarily disappointed when it moves away, but I am excited about finishing the book. If that makes any sense. The story will be what the story will be.

    • I like how you included your point of view as a writer in this post. And that character has an attitude! Our characters can be demanding like that, impatiently waiting for their stories to be written. 🙂

      • Joanna Aislinn

        Started noticing my character’s attitude too, lol. I suppose being as dependent as they to get their stories out has something to do with that 🙂

        • I wish it were that simple for me. My characters are crazy. Just last night, Ms Steel (the lady above) said she’d kill the MC of another story if I didn’t work on her tale more…

          • Joanna Aislinn

            Now that sounds dire. Also sounds like you have the grounds for a series. Hmmm.

          • Indeed. Multiple series. Including a meta series. 😀

      • I’m glad you liked it. Would you say her attitude is a good one, or a poor one?

        • I don’t think it’s a question of whether her attitude is good or a poor one. But I do think that it’s good that she has an attitude. Otherwise your character becomes bland.

          And I like it when characters put on their attitude vibe, I’m more compelled to read their story. 🙂

          • Thanks for you input. What I was meaning was, is she likable, or no?

          • I think she is. I think she has a strong personality.

    • This is great! I could really hear your character begging for attention. This is how it happens for me too. sometimes, I tune them out because I don’t like where they want to go or that their voice is stronger than my narrator. Good practice on listening RW, thanks.

      • I’m glad you liked it. I don’t have the luxury of tuning my characters out. They tend to get violent if I try. I mentioned so in another reply.

  • Joanna Aislinn

    One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever read! Really looking forward to trying it out. Thanks, Joy!

    • Wow. Thank you Joanna! I’ll be glad to know my post helped in a way. 🙂

  • Thanks for posting this. I’m stuck right in that terrible middle section of my novel that always trips me up. I’ll definitely try these tips and hopefully it’ll help. 🙂

    • Been there. Remember you can bounce around if you have to. Just write it, as many times as you have to. In choices for life, you can choose only one path to take. but in novel writing you can take several. If one doesn’t work the way you wanted, take a different one!

      • I agree James. There’s one time I can’t figure out how to write the next scene in my story, so I wrote the one that came after that instead. Turns out it helped me write the scene that was troubling me.

        • Joanna Aislinn

          So fascinating the way stories develop in different ways for different writers. Once wrote a BEFORE chapter I had no idea should have existed until I wrote the AFTER one first. Did y’all get that? (I’m thinking it might be time for me to go to bed now.)

    • Thanks Natalie! I hope this post will help. 🙂

  • Joy, some good advice there. I was feeling stuck towards the end of my novel, until I had my protagonist write a self portrait. In first person, perhaps as someone might introduce themselves over the course of a first date. A few bits of the resulting text found their way into my manuscript, but I found the process very helpful in unlocking some issues. Then I did the same for a couple of other key characters – it was a lot of fun, and a very good way of regaining momentum when things had slowed up.

  • A few of my characters are already quite moody, because I keep ignoring them. Especially the zombies. They need “Brains!!!” 😉 Guess I should better get back to them. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  • Joanna Aislinn

    This has been an excellent exercise so far, Joy, and here is my brainstorm/draft. Can’t wait to get into the other POV characters’ heads. They’re outlining my story as I go 🙂

    Here are Rosella’s thoughts on the matter. She’s a little sick and tired of waiting for me to get it together and find a direction for her story, and to get things right between
    her and Trent.

    “So you’re letting me be the muse, huh? It’s about time you stopped
    trying to figure out my story and started committing to putting down something
    concrete about it.

    Let’s start with what I do. I am a nurse. Just a regular
    nurse. I’m no douhla, nor am I a midwife, but you’re job, Writer Girl, is to
    involve me in helping women whose babies are being birthed then taken from
    them. The women are then either sold into some kind of servitude or impregnated
    again. It’s a regular baby farming business over at some out-of-the-way old
    estate on the outskirts of Holly Grove.

    BTW, I stumble onto this information when one of the repeat
    girls comes back b/c she’s having complications with her next pregnancy. I have
    no idea that my best friend’s husband is being blackmailed or tricked into
    providing care for these girls, as I later realize is the case with me. His
    signatures are being falsely obtained (i.e., he’s being made to sign things he
    is being told are something else—yes we need to work on him paying attention to
    what he’s doing). I promise you, the guy might be a bit irreverent, but he’s a
    straight arrow.

    As per my husband, he’s so stuck in his own depression over his former partner’s murder, he can’t seem to get moving on solving the case. He escapes and hides behind the guise of police captain, a job that keeps him busy enough overseeing his squad, putting him in a prime position to avoid facing what happened to his partner. (It
    also keeps him busy enough to avoid his family—work is always a viable excuse,
    right?) He also had the joy of giving the final go-ahead to shut down his
    partner’s vent, but felt coerced into that decision when the doc laid the cards
    on the table in front of Trent’s partner’s wife, who decided it was in her husband’s best interest to not be left on life support. (I’m also thinking my man might have some underlying anger/issue with his partner leaving such a decision to Trent.)

    I know Trent loves me and our girls, but he avoids us too. Why, I’m not sure at this point, but maybe b/c he expected me to be more of a house-frau, churchy-going kind of
    mom/wife who home schools—so NOT me. I need to be out among people too, using
    my God-given skills to help others. Not that I don’t love my girls and don’t
    believe in home schooling, but I need balance. Working a couple of days a week
    and networking with other parents who home school—maybe even trading “classes”
    (?)—would definitely work for me. And if Trent stepped up and made himself a more active role model/participant in his girls’ lives, you wouldn’t hear me grumping and moaning about it, that’s for sure.”

    • Brilliant…lots of great sub-plots to show your character off. Great sharing.

      • Joanna Aislinn

        Thnx, Dawn. You good at fleshing out subplots, lol? Maybe that’s why I wind up overwhelmed. Can’t seem to see ’em.

    • I like how you portrayed your character as a nurse, mom, wife and friend. In real life, nobody wears a single hat. We all play different roles in our lives. That is so true with our characters. And that’s what makes them realistic. 🙂

      • Joanna Aislinn

        Thnx, Joy. My Ro is more of a spitfire than I realized, lol.

        • If feels great to know more about our character’s personalities isn’t it? 🙂

          • Joanna Aislinn

            Kind of wild to get to know them this way, lol. And how they inhabit more of my head than I knew!

    • Eliese

      It felt like this was an interview with a real person instead of a character which was really neat. Plus, I got hints of the story which sounded very interesting. Nice job.

      • Joanna Aislinn

        Thnx, Eliese. The more I read this, the more is jumping out at me. I was never into “interviewing” my characters. Having them spout off to me has been giving me awesome insight into who they are as well ax external plot fodder. I am loving this technique so far!

        • Eliese

          That’s awesome!

        • Glad to hear that Joanna. 🙂

  • Joanna Aislinn

    I have looked over some of the other responses. People certainly get creative!

  • “Hey Gwen, I’m stuck. I can’t work out how this next plot twist can happen. I’m not even sure I want it to.”

    “Well about time you got back to me. It’s dark here, as you well know. I need to move. Maybe now’s not the right time. Maybe for now all I need is to know he’s there. I’m feeling excited but confident enough in my cause to be patient. It is unfolding like clockwork. My old friend delivering the goods yet again. Perhaps we can focus on her. Deepen her love. Entrench her further into the misery of love. I can be patient. Confirm my target; observe my prey.”

    “I feel like I’m giving up. Like I’m too scared to go there.”

    Gwen smiled and shuddered. Her lips curled toward the blackness in her eyes.

    ” I can be very patient. I can calculate from afar. I want to deepen my connection with Shaz; slowly let her in. There is no hurry.”

    She glanced back toward the busy street where the three of them stood huddled in conversation as if she had never left.

    “I have to go back now. Lead me back. Trust me. Let the lovers love. This dark lantern needs only a brief flicker of hope to keep black it’s burning flame. Come, come, we must move on.”

    Gwen tugged my writing hand.

    “Write me in the longer way. I want to visit her home. See more of her life. She will assist; bear witness to my final strike.”

    “But Gwen I feel like I’m putting off the inevitable. I’m avoiding the dark. You’re scaring me.”

    Gwen twitched, irritation lit the embers in her eyes.

    “Don’t you leave me too. Wasn’t once enough? You owe me. I know you.” She pushed me toward the door. “You’re in too deep. This is your story and you need me. Write me back in. Write me in the long way. I’ll be stronger. I’ll be waiting.”

    She opened the creaky door and slipped back out onto the busy street. Through the tinted glass I could see her laughing, pointing back at the door, sweeping her co-characters into her shadowy net. Saving them all for another day. If only they knew how close to the end they had been.
    I shrunk back into the shadows of the shop. Reluctant, unconvinced and shaking.

    • Joanna Aislinn

      This is excellent, Dawn! Gwen is holding the reins and keeping it all in place until you catch up, or so it seems. Wish my characters could be that specific. I’d be that much farther along.

    • I love it! This is my favorite part, “You’re in too deep. This is your story and you need me. Write me back
      in. Write me in the long way. I’ll be stronger. I’ll be waiting.”

      I love the fact that your character knows what she wants. 🙂 When we get to that level of understanding our characters, we can go deeper to the story and explore.

      • Thanks Joy. This particular character is a dark twist in the plot of my story (first novel) that I hadn’t anticipated and most certainly hadn’t planned.

        This has been a great exercise to do and I will be doing the same with the other key characters. Thank you for the prompt. 🙂

  • Thanks, joy – I love this post! Its’ been a while since I’ve visited here as I’ve been working on a novel, but have wanted to enter a short story contest but wasn’t sure of the voice of my main character – thanks for reminding me to listen to her. It helped. Here’s the intro to that story…

    The day after daddy left mama told us to stop calling her mama. “My name is Yvonne and that’s what you will call me from now on.” She was stirring the tomato soup on the two burner stove that scorched up the counter so bad it needed two packs of cigarettes under one of the burner’s feet so our soup would cook all even. “I never wanted to be anyone’s mama. No sense pretending we’re a real family with your daddy gone. Real families have daddy’s that stay.” Even when a bad fever made Finch call out to mama in the middle of the night, Yvonne just rolled over in the bed next to us and said. “Natalie, you tell little your sister there’s no mama here.” I had turned ten that summer and was older and smarter than my little sister but calling mama Yvonne felt like taking the Lord’s name in vain.

    The first time I said it aloud, we were sitting in front of the principal at Immaculate Mary School. I hated all those meetings with new principles that made a liar out of me. Yvonne always prompted me while we walked to the new school, but sometimes I forgot which lie I was supposed to tell. Why did the principal need to know where daddy worked anyway? He wasn’t living with us and he wasn’t the one going into fourth grade. I hoped Sister Agnes might be different. She was the first nun I met who wore glasses and Yvonne said to be real careful of people who wore glasses because they were smart. But Sister Agnes asked the same dumb questions as every other principle that gave Yvonne the chance to go on and on about how much she loved the movies and how she picked our names.

    “I just had to name my first born Natalie. I mean Natalie Wood is so beautiful, don’t you agree, Sister? Thank God I didn’t have a boy. I don’t know what would happen to a boy named Natalie!” Yvonne laughed her deep throaty laugh as she dug in her purse for a cigarette. “Finch of course, was supposed to be a boy, but she popped out as pink and curly haired as Natalie.” She was about to light up when Sister interrupted her to say smoking wasn’t allowed at Immaculate Mary. You would have thought I was watching a ping pong match the way my head went back and forth between Yvonne’s face and the sister’s. No one interrupted Yvonne when she talked movies. But before I could get all scared about what Yvonne might do, Sister Agnes turned to ask me a question. “How do you like being the oldest in your family Natalie?”

    And, that’s when I decided to practice. Practice calling mama Yvonne for the first time. I smiled at Sister Agnes with the same smile I saved for Mr Gennero when he came to
    collect the rent and I had to lie about Yvonne not being home. I looked Sister Agnes square in the face and said “I’m not the oldest in our family, Sister. Yvonne’s older than me by 16 years.”

    • Thank you too Margaret. I’m glad this post was helpful. 🙂

  • Great tips Joy!

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  • The German Guy

    My doubts made the young woman laugh out loud.

    Then she shook her head: “No my friend, really!” Amina gestured across the room to the
    poster of the Argentinian national team. There was Lionel Messi squatting in
    front of the camera, ready to deploy his magic. “Nothing great has ever been
    achieved without passion – and without suffering”. Amina wanted to be a
    teacher. The year she entered secondary school, she had chosen Messi as her honorary
    student. Every day after classes she explained to him in detail what
    had fascinated her. “You know, we must not desist because of obstacles. We must
    not desist!” Then she slightly turned his head to the side,: “It would be a pity if you would stop now, it would be like… like to kill someone who was to do something important in this world!” I felt strange being lectured by a 14-year old.

    • Hi! I think your prose is interesting. But I think you can improve the last sentence. Maybe try rephrasing it? For example:

      “If you stop it, it’s like… like killing someone who has an important mission in this world!”

      but that’s just a suggestion. 🙂

      • The German Guy

        Thank you for your suggestion Joy! When writing in English, I am often having difficulties to tell whether my sentences are ok or not. I hope to develop a better feel little by little. It´s hard work :).

  • Ashley Liz

    “Honestly you’re gonna get it all wrong anyway. I
    don’t know why I should even bother.” Brandis rolls her eyes but continues
    talking.

    “All I am
    saying is that I am a very complicated person and I don’t think you are telling
    my side of the story very well.”

    I try to interject; however Brandis doesn’t even notice
    and continues talking.

    “No one can
    really ‘get’ me, ya know? I am really very deep. People don’t think so, but I
    have been through a lot. Like my best friend was just killed, I mean come on! Have
    a little compassion, Jesus! When you write about me you always make me sound
    like such a bitch and that is not what I am like. If you paid attention you
    would know I care a lot about my friends. All that stuff I say is just us
    joking around. We all talk that way to each other. Besides, I don’t force
    anyone to hang out with me. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to be here.
    I have tons and tons of friends. So either everyone at school likes being
    treated like shit, or you are getting it wrong. Let me just tell you, you got
    it all wrong. Oh you know what you should do? You should rewrite all the scenes
    I’m in and I could help you.”

    I don’t…

    “Let me
    tell you what you need to write. I am pretty; I dress amazingly everyday, not
    like you. I wouldn’t be caught dead in that. I mean come on. The rest of us
    have to look at you all day, ya know! How about a little consideration?”

    Brandis pauses to take a breath or to let
    the insult sink in. I am not sure which.

    She continues on, “Jk! You know I love
    you. I just play around like that with all my friends, you know? Kiss kiss”

    Then
    she beams brightly, the full force of her charm directed straight at me. I look
    into her bright blue eyes and she holds my stare. Her look is suddenly
    vulnerable. Pleading is behind those eyes, a kind of desperation. She keeps
    that stare, holding her breath, until I finally smile back at her. With that she
    has been absolved. I hate that I smile back but I always do. Maybe it’s out of
    reflex, or maybe her eyes possess some kind ofhypnotic power. Either way,
    the vulnerability is gone and Brandis is back, ruthless and guarded once again.

    • I love how you showed your character’s vulnerability. 🙂

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