“It’s me you’re babbling about, isn’t it?” she said, on a tone of voice that betrayed her mounting anger. I kept silent, no point in denying: the computer screen clearly showing the latest entry on her story was there, in front of us. At this point she was arguing with her ex-husband, and a row was boiling.
“I asked you before: let’s talk first before you start writing about my intimate life, wasn’t that made clear to you?” I could not disagree, we had that conversation a year ago, she’d complained about not being consulted on details of her life she wanted to be true and accurate. Then she even went as far as mentioning “abuse”. An author abusing his characters, well, this character, at any rate.
I wanted a way out, but knew she would not give up easily. “I suggest you read the draft, and I’ll do the corrections you want, within reason. How does that sound to you?” Her reply was as icy as her grey eyes:
“The fool doesn’t even know the power of words. Think again: what you write can never be erased, or edited out. You just hurt people with words, as sure as you would with a knife! So take that for a certainty: I DISAGREE with you messing with me, my life, past and future, unless I have knowledge, beforehand, of what you are plotting.”
She knows her strength: characters have their rights, and for a writer, breaching those is a sure road to bad writing. I went to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea, but when I came back she was gone. The screen showed in large characters:
“YOU’D BETTER LISTEN THIS TIME!”