A Conversation With Sally Larson and Rick Johnson (Heroine and Hero in Her Heart’s Desire)

Well, everything in Her Heart’s Desire was going along just fine and I’m at the part where Rick is about to surprise Sally.  The problem?  I don’t know what to do after that.  I don’t want to end the book below the 65,000 word mark.  Currently, I’m a little over 38,000 words.  I can get to 40,000 words without any problems, but after that, my mind is going to draw a blank.  I have two options.  I can go back and see if anything can be filled in or, and this is why I brought these wayward characters in, figure something out to reach the 65,000 word goal.   So today, I’m bringing them in for an interview to see if we can get something going.

Sally: Hey there, Ruth.  You caught me at a good time.  I just finished a fun-filled day of shopping.   Look, you shouldn’t be stressing out over what will happen.  Haven’t you been writing enough stories by now to know that the characters have a way of letting you know what to do when you get there?

Ruth: Usually, the characters have enough consideration to tell me what they want to happen further out than a chapter in advance.

Sally: But if Rick and I told you everything ahead of time, where would the fun be?  You always say you write by the seat of your pants.  You never outline, you never map out plots or characters ahead of time, and you never have more than a one-sentence summary of the book before you dive right into it.  You should be used to this spontaneous stuff by now.

Ruth: I can’t outline or do plot points because the characters always change the story on me.  Usually by chapter 3, the book looks nothing like what I originally planned.  As for mapping out characters, you guys evolve in ways I never anticipate. 

Sally: Then it seems that you shouldn’t be complaining.  Just write and I’ll tell you what to do next.

Rick: You meant to include me, too, right Sally?

Sally: What?

Rick: When you said, “Just write and I’ll tell you what to do next,” you meant, “Just write and Rick and I’ll tell you what to do next.”

Sally: Oh, well, okay.  Sure. 

Rick: Sally.

Sally: I mean both of us.  This is our book.  Not only mine.

Rick: Hmmm…

Ruth: Rick, something you should learn about women is that they often let the man think they came up with an idea.  So basically, your job is to do what Sally wants, but you’re supposed to think it’s your idea, if that makes sense.  It’s called female logic.

Sally: Ruth, it’s rude of you to suggest I’d manipulate Rick like that.  Just for that, I’m returning the gift I bought you.

Ruth: You’re a fictional character, Sally.  You didn’t buy anything I can actually use.

Rick: And where did you get this money to go shopping?  You’re a farmer’s daughter.  Aren’t you too poor to be buying all that stuff?

Sally: But I’m going to marry you, and you have enough.

Rick: How are you spending my money?

Sally: It’s called credit.  Don’t worry.  I told them to charge your account.

Rick: You what!

Sally: Oh come on, Rick.  Would you really have me going around town as a judge’s wife in the worn dresses I had to wear on the farm?  People are likely to think you don’t take good care of me.  I have to dress nicer now that I married up.  I’m really doing this for you.  People will think you’re an awesome man because you take such good care of your wife.

Rick: Well, maybe…

Sally: Not maybe.  Definitely.  I’m doing this for you, sweetie.  I want people to know how wonderful you are.

Rick: *blushes* That’s thoughtful of you.

Sally: You’re welcome.  I’ll do anything for you.

Ruth: You’re right, Sally.  You don’t manipulate Rick at all. *rolls eyes*

Rick: She doesn’t manipulate everything.  I have a trick or two up my sleeve that will catch her off guard.

Sally: *raises eyebrow* Oh?

Rick: But I’m not at liberty to say what I’m going to do. 

Ruth: I already know what you’re going to do, but depending on how Sally will react to it, I have no idea if the story can keep going or not so I hope you have a plan for whether she’s happy with you or not.

Rick: I can’t predict how she’s going to react, so no, I don’t have a plan.

Ruth: You need to think of what you’ll do in either scenario.  What will you do if she’s happy?  What will you do if she’s pissed off?

Rick: I just figured she’d be happy since she’s been in love with me from page 1.

Sally: *gasps* Ruth, I can’t believe you told him!

Ruth: Don’t blame me, Sally.  I didn’t tell him anything.

Rick: Ruth’s right.  She didn’t tell me.

Sally: Then who did?

Rick: Sorry.  My lips are sealed.  I can’t tell you.

Sally: I don’t know if I like this side of you, Rick.  Here I thought we had a relationship built on communication and transparency.

Ruth: In other words, you thought you knew everything Rick was thinking and doing while he didn’t have to know what you were thinking and doing.

Sally: I believe you finished up your word count today for Her Heart’s Desire.  It’s 9pm.  I think it’s time you did your word counts for Mitch’s Win and Bound by Honor, Bound by Love.

Ruth: You’d better figure out what to do in the story, Sally.  I’ve got at least 25,000 more words to write.  I can’t do any more novellas.  I need it to be a full-length novel.

Sally: Stop stressing and get out of here.

Ruth: *sigh* If you can’t give me something, then I’m putting your story on hold until I come up with something good.  And please, Rick, come up with a plan on what you’ll do if she’s happy or unhappy with you after you pull your big stunt.

Sally: What stunt?

Rick: You’ll find out when Ruth writes it.

Sally: Ruth?

Ruth: Sorry.  Off to log in my word counts on the other two books I’m working on.  *scurries off*

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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