This past Saturday, I spent six straight hours finishing revisions for Chapter 11 of my first novel. Maybe total burnout had struck my brain, I don’t know, but afterward, I thought about what I wrote, focusing in on the possible meaning behind the repetition of a specific line.
For a tiny bit of background (no spoilers, I promise, which is why I’m not telling you any settings), I can say that the first scene, taking place in Chapter 10, involves the protagonist, Kara, speaking with another character, Roland. In this scene, Kara, who’s been charged with saving the life of every person on planet Earth, is having a “down” moment in which she has zero confidence in herself. Roland is attempting to talk her up.
“You’re not a failure, Kara,” Roland counters.
“I’ve always been a failure,” I counter back. “There’s never been a question about that.”
About to counter again, he stops himself and squints. “You know, maybe we do have something in common.”
If he mentions having an affinity for pronouncing the word ‘supposedly’ as ‘supposebly,’ then I will be seriously shocked.
“You’re stubborn, like me.”
Of course not; I’m too unique.
I part from a view of his gorgeous blues as my tone ensnares a healthy dose of reality. “I’m not like you.” My exhausted head droops as I finish, “I’m not like anyone.”
The second scene takes place in Chapter 11, as Kara confronts the antagonist of the novel, who is kind of attracted to her.
“What is your name?”
Turning from him, I cough out a laugh. “You’re about to murder everyone on the planet and you ask me my name as if it’s important?”
“Please,” he begs.
Gazing up into his eyes, I see something that may resemble affection, like he’s actually come to care about me. But how can someone about to do something so unspeakably horrific have any sense of caring in him? I’d accuse him of being heartless for committing to destroy my world, but that would be a lie. My world is already gone, stolen from me years ago. Besides, I’m not sure that I have any caring left in me either. I mean, I never did wanna save the human race anyway; I only wanted to save myself.
“Please,” he softly repeats.
Maybe we do have something in common.
“Kara,” I exhale.
Maybe he’s devoid of the same thing I’m missing…
“It’s a true honor to meet you, Kara…”
If you didn’t catch the specific line that’s repeated in the two scenes, it’s, “Maybe we do have something in common.” Now, at the time I wrote it into Chapter 11, I didn’t realize I was repeating the line; that wasn’t my intention. When I did realize it, however, and I looked back at Chapter 10 to make sure I was remembering correctly and not just suffering from post-revisions severe brain fry, I began thinking about why that line is repeated.
What I came up with is that Roland is a good guy; he has a good heart. In that Chapter 10 scene, he’s seeing the best in Kara and trying to encourage her to see the same. But Kara rejects this because of the low opinion she has of herself. When Kara is speaking with the antagonist in Chapter 11, she thinks of him as heartless and uncaring. This is when Kara poses the same thought for the antagonist that Roland attempted to pose with her. She sees herself as heartless and uncaring so thinks that she has something in common with the antagonist. In other words, despite having good qualities, Kara only sees the worst in herself, which is why she believes she shares a common trait with the antagonist but not Roland.
This is also why I really like that little exchange at the end of the Chapter 11 excerpt, after she tells him her name, in which Kara’s thoughts align with the antagonist’s words. It’s like the two of them are on the same wavelength.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on my writings and analyzing my writings. Maybe I don’t intend to put meaning into every line or every action, but sometimes it accidentally sneaks in there somehow. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think I’m some type of genius by any standard, even the lowest ones, but part of the fun of reading and writing is analyzing what’s been read or written. I like seeing meaning in things, especially when I know it wasn’t consciously put there. This makes me believe that maybe there’s more to our thoughts and our creations than even we know.
Can you read the meaning in your own writing? Give it a try. You may surprise yourself. 😉