Ruth: Something that never fails to surprise me is how much a story can change from how I originally thought it would go. Isaac’s Decision is turning out to be pretty much the exact opposite of how I thought it would be. For one, Emily and Isaac were supposed to elope a lot sooner than they did. And two, Isaac was supposed to be in such a hurry to marry Emily that he failed to get a place to live and a job first.
Ruth: You weren’t going to be irresponsible. You were going to be young and rash.
Isaac: In short, I was supposed to be stupid.
Ruth: No, you weren’t supposed to be stupid. You were just supposed to be overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a husband and the idea of impending fatherhood.
Isaac: What you fail to understand is that back in the 1890s, people married earlier than they do today. It wasn’t uncommon for a seventeen-year-old to get married and assume the duties of a husband and father. We didn’t go to college or spend years dating someone before we settled down. That’s why I’d be the laughingstock in front of all the other characters.
Ruth: Well, this has completely changed 80% of the book. It looks nothing at all like I intended when I started it.
Ruth: What are you holding there, Dave?
Dave: It’s my statement to the world. If no one buys your books, maybe you’ll start listening to your characters. After all, without us you wouldn’t have a story.
Ruth: Hmm… So I take this to mean you’re going on strike?
Ruth: So I guess you don’t want to be in To Have and To Hold. Should I kill you off and give Mary to someone else?
Dave: You can’t do that because I’m in Isaac’s Decision. In fact, I seem to be the only one responsible for the conflict. Without me, there’d be no plot because everything would be sunshine and flowers. People don’t read books if there’s no conflict.
Ruth: Like there was conflict in your version of Isaac’s Decision. *rolls eyes* You know what I could do for To Have and To Hold? I could kill you off and give Mary a second chance at love.
Dave: *gasps* You wouldn’t!
Ruth: I very well could. Then I’d delete you from Isaac’s Decision and make Neil have the hang up that provides the conflict.
Dave: Thank you.
Neil: I’m not as uptight as little Mr. Perfect Larson is.
Neil: I think you heard me.
Dave: Look here, pal, I’ve had all I can take of you.
Neil: Yeah, well I can say the same thing. I’ve had all I can take of your holier than thou attitude. I swear, one would think you could tell God to move over because you’re so much better than everyone else.
Joel: That’s not true, Neil.
Dave: Thank you, Joel.
Joel: If Dave was perfect, he would do a much better job of writing books. I’ve read some bad ones in my time, but nothing is as awful as what he creates. I mean, rakes flying out of nowhere, being told that Isaac magically changes his mind without sufficient motivation, lame dialogue–
Dave: Mind your own business, Joel.
Neil: What’s the problem, Dave? Can’t take a little constructive criticism?
Dave: I can take it just fine. It just depends on the source.
Joel: Who better than your brother to tell you the truth? Would you rather hear it from a stranger?
Dave: Don’t you have someone else to bug, like Tom?
Joel: No. This has nothing to do with you.
Tom: I’m pretty sure I heard my name.
Joel: While listening to music?
Tom: It’s not music. It’s an audiobook, thank you very much.
Joel: Let me guess? The Little Engine That Could?
Tom: No. Why would you think I’m listening to a kid’s book?
Joel: Well, you should. Not only is it a lot better than what Dave comes up with, but it’ll teach you to keep trying because one of these days, you might succeed at something.
Dave: You two need to get out of here. This has nothing to do with either one of you. You aren’t even in Isaac’s Decision.
Joel: Which is good if you insist on rewriting it. I don’t want my name associated with your penmanship, or as I term it “crapmanship.”
Neil: *chuckles* Pretty clever there, Joel.
Dave: No, it’s not clever. It’s stupid.
Joel: It’s a whole lot better than your writing.
Ruth: This is exactly why Isaac’s Decision didn’t go according to plan. Dave and Neil decided to hijack a good portion of the book, and it’s taking Sarah and Mary to smooth out the kinks.
Neil: What’s wrong with that?
Ruth: It isn’t your story. It’s Isaac and Emily’s.
Emily: I actually prefer this version. I didn’t feel like running off to Missouri and finding my real mother. I know you want me to dwell on her, but I’d rather not. I’d rather focus on positive things, like what Isaac and I have together.
Isaac: Exactly. There’s no need for all that drama. Plus, back then, what were the chances a young woman is really going to travel by herself? It’s not like it is today where it happens all the time.
Ruth: It could happen, Isaac.
Isaac: But the probability wasn’t as good. Besides, if you check your history, you’ll know that when women immigrated to America in the 1890s, they were detained until it was assured that someone could care for and protect them. Today, a woman can go wherever without such a hinderance.
Ruth: Oh come on, Isaac. You can’t generalize this for all women everywhere. Carrie Ingalls won a homestead in a lottery in her mid-thirties, which was around 1905, and she maintained it all by herself. If she could do this by herself, then there were things women did without men, even if it wasn’t the norm of the day.
Emily: I don’t want my book to end up as a history lesson. I just want to marry Isaac and live happily ever after with him. The hard part was getting him to admit his feelings for me. After that, why put me through more pain than I have to? So what if the parents have to work things out so Dave and Neil can bury the hatchet and move on?
Ruth: It lessens your “spotlight” to do that.
Emily: So I get less scenes in the book? As long as no one falls asleep while reading it, who cares?
Joel: As long as Dave isn’t writing it, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Isaac: True. I sounded like a complete idiot in his second rewrite. “I am brave.” “I am brave and strong.” “I will take you home.” No one talks like that.
Joel: That’s what I’ve been saying all along.
Dave: Well, that’s gratitude for you. Don’t either of you ask me for favors in the future because I’m not doing them. *leaves*
Isaac: The story is going along fine. We’re changing the story only because it’s better the way we envision it. You need to trust your characters to do the right thing.
Ruth: I guess I have no choice since you all run the show. Very well. We’ll see how things turn out. And you better do a good job because, unlike Dave, I don’t like doing rewrites.