So ... what I do? Well, for girls at least, I invite them over for a sleepover. (Haven't quite figured it out for my boys, but they're usually the more cooperative gentlemen, so it has never really come up.)
One book that I've been suffering such a writer's block with has been Water Princess, Fire Prince, the culprit being the Water Princess, Clara. So ... I invited her over.
"Oh here's a good sign. Pride and Prejudiced is missing its cover. You must read it a lot Kendra."
I didn't even glance at the blonde girl "condemning" and/or "perusing" my bookshelf. I had invited Clara over for some much-needed character/author bonding time. Instead, it had turned into me sitting on my bed scribbling in my notebook while she inspected my bookshelf.
"And what's this? Eregon? You have Eregon? Why on earth do you have that book?"
"Because it was only a dollar at my library's book sale the other week. I had been planning on reading it some time or another anyways."
"And the King's Quest companion book? Do you even own that game?"
"I do, actually. The problem is, I no longer own a computer that will run it."
Even I have a limit when it comes to how much insult my literary tastes can take. Before she could condemn another one of my precious books, I threw a pillow at her. "I'm the one who reads them, you don't even have to look at them."
Clara stiffened, then whirled around to face me. "Oh, but it is a fact universally acknowledged that an author, in possession of a book, will allow it to affect her own writing. I don't wish to be contaminated."
"Ah well then, I'll turn you into a gullible innocent like David Copperfield's mother. I'm sure you'll love being influenced by her."
"I'd prefer Peggoty."
"Then you'd lose your good looks. And then what would Andrew say?"
"I couldn't care less about Andrew."
"Ah, but there will come a time ..."
Clara decided to ignore my words and instead stalked over and snatched the notebook out of my hands. "'Then I will honor you,'" she read aloud in the most annoying voice she could muster. "I placed the broken ends of the Necklace against my Ankulen's gem ..." She flung the notebook onto my desk - which was as far away from me as possible. "Honestly? You invite me to a sleepover and spend the whole time writing Jen's book? Wow! What a way to make a character feel loved and appreciated!"
"Your book isn't being particularly cooperative at the moment." I thrust my pencil into my ponytail, then hopped to the floor so that she could no longer glare down at me."On the computer, I'm stuck on Andrew's breaking point. In the notebook, yours is giving me trouble."
Clara tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. "Why do I have a bad feeling about this?"
I shrugged and leaned against the bed post at the foot of my bed. "It may have something to do with the fact that Amber is going to turn you into an ice statue at the end of the scene."
"What!" Clara sprang forward. "You can't do that! I'm the Water Princess! If I get turned to ice, what will happen to Klarand, and Rizkaland itself."
I grinned, feeling, for once, in charge of the situation. "Fortunately for you, the Fire Prince will be there. He'll melt your frozen heart."
"And what about the rest of me?"
"That goes without saying, Clair."
"Why do I still have a bad feeling about this?"
"Maybe because you don't trust me to make everything turn out right in the end?" I suggested. "Your bad feeling is groundless. I'm perfectly capable of pulling off the wonderful happily ever after I have planned for you and Andrew. Oh, and for Klarand and Rizkaland, too."
Clara's eyes were slits now, accenting the fact that she was one-forth Chinese. "Then why aren't you doing so? Why are you working on Jen's book and not mine?"
Sighing, I allowed myself to sink back down onto my bed. "Because, at the moment, The Ankulen is my priority. I'd like to have it out by September. And I'm stuck on your breaking point, I've told you that."
She frowned, allowing her glare to slacking the slightest bit. "And when do you plan to publish my book?"
I shrugged. "Honestly, I don't know. You and Andrew have been with me almost as long as Petra and Summer and Ashna. You're the constants in my life. I enjoy writing about you, having you there to be written about. I'd love to see you in the hands of my readers ... and yet ..."
"I'm a constant in your life?" Clara questioned, her expression becoming confused.
"Yes, Clair, you are. I have so many plot lines I plan to write, so many characters I like to spend time with - but most of the time, it's you and Andrew who I'm thinking about. Either that or Maryanne."
Clara snorted and rolled her eyes. "Maryanne is ridiculous."
"The two of you have more in common than you care to admit," I pointed out.
"I have nothing in common with that ... that insane princess. Can you hop on one foot indeed!"
"Well, for one, you both are good with weaponry - especially swords - and you both love to show off."
"Maryanne has no regard for safety precaution!"
"Admitted, but ... you both become queen for countries you had never even heard about until a few months before the crown is plopped on your heads - though she accepts her position much more gracefully than you do."
"She's given a choice!"
"And you would have left the Klaranders and Rizkans to suffer while you run back to your own home? I know Andrew considered it ..."
Her eyes hardened into a glare again, this time directed at the floor. "No ..."
"Really, the only difference I see is that she likes me and you don't."
"Well, you let her have her way!"
"That's because she always suggests good ideas - like running away from home. Anyways, I didn't bring you here to discuss her, but you. Why are you refusing to like Andrew? What's so bad about him?"
"He's a wimp, that's why!" Her snap of a reply is faster than it should be, causing me to raise an eyebrow.
"Okay then, so that's settled. How about we take a different approach? Is there anything about him that, if his wimpiness were to suddenly vanish, you do like."
This time, she doesn't answer at all.
"Oh, come on! Surely there's something you like about him. He's got cute freckles, you have to give him that."
"They barely mask the fact that he's a wimp."
"You know what I think your problem is?" I suddenly realized. "Your problem is that liking him would make you vulnerable - and you don't like being vulnerable."
"Who does?" she snaps again.
"Clara, there's nothing wrong with being vulnerable, not when you have people you can trust as your shield. You can trust Andrew. He's a good guy - I made him up just for you. And I think you've already noticed that when you aren't condemning him and telling him he's basically worthless, when you let him be a hero ... then his wimpiness goes away."
I know that I've struck a chord with her, for she suddenly whirls away and flings herself onto the bed. "You know what, it's late, and I like to get up early. I'm going to sleep. Don't kick me." She curls up into a ball at my feet, and I know that she won't say another word to me for the rest of the night. Sighing, I turn off the light. I need my sleep too.
And you know what? After writing that, my writer's block went away! I finished chapter 28, and then chapter 29 (which I had been looking forward to writing for some time) just flew out of my pencil. Haven't gotten the computer talking to me again yet, but that's Andrew's problem, not Clara's.
Know what? I think I need to do one of these with Robin. She's not talking to me at the moment.