Layers upon layers

by Nancy Christie on February 15, 2012

in Fiction writing, Writing Process

What I’m finding as I work on Reinventing Rita is that sometimes the multiple storylines just present themselves and I have to respect that. 

I had a rough idea of the overall story but, as I worked my through it, more conflicts presented themselves: not necessarily conflicts that Rita had to address (although she might think they were her problems!) but ones that indirectly shed some light on Rita’s thoughts and understandings of situations, as well as her relationship with her mother.

For example: her daughter’s pregnancy.  How did it make Rita feel about her own choice, since she had gotten pregnant unexpectedly too? And Alexa’s view of motherhood: was that just her daughter’s perception or had Rita somehow fed into it? What should Alexa do: have the baby? Have an abortion? And what is Rita’s role in all this: bystander or active participant?

Then there is Caro’s problem: her fiance’s family idolizes his dead wife. Here she is, at mid-life, in competition with someone who, by all accounts, was a saint, even through her breast cancer. Does he share his family’s feelings? Does he view Caro as second-best? Would she be making a huge mistake to marry him?

So many questions but instead of overwhelming me, they are making the project more interesting–perhaps because, in real life, I have faced similar situations where the answers are far from clear and whatever one I would choose, I would always wonder if I picked the right one.


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