The last three books I wrote were a breeze. I wrote without doing much thinking at all. I knew my characters inside and out. Even when I typed “The End,” I felt that I could still write more about their lives. This book is different, though. It’s going to be the death of me.
I hate this book. It’s been a long time since I ran across that phase of writing. I know it’s completely normal and, in another 10,000 words, I’ll be unable to stop writing. But even though I’ve been here before, it feels completely new to me.
While I love Poppy, I don’t know her. She feels like a stranger to me. After countless character discovery exercises, she is still contradicting herself. It’s frustrating because I’m used to my characters knowing what they want and chasing after it. Poppy knows what she wants—but only to a point. She changes her mind on a whim, letting her fears get the best of her. Slipping into her head is difficult for me, because I’m not used to being so indecisive.
I’ve come to realize, though, that this is completely normal behavior for an eighteen-year-old. She’s testing her grounds, drawing back when things get hard or when her thoughts intrude. Her ability to make decisions is still developing. She’s not really a teen anymore and, to make things worse, she’s pretending to be someone she’s not. Of course she’s confused and flighty. She’s acting exactly the way that she’s supposed to.
Poppy’s eyelids grew heavy. Peeking up at Griff from between her lashes, she pressed closer to him. “Maybe you could take my mind off things.”
Warm hands gripped her waist. He crushed her against his body. Ducking his head, he swept his lips across hers. Tongue darting out, he caressed her lower lip. She felt him pressing hard against her. Moaning, she parted her lips, allowing him entry. His tongue darted into her mouth, lips pressing against hers. He moaned into her mouth. His fingers unbuttoned her coat. One of his hands crept up under her blouse. His palm brushed her nipple, fingers gripping her breast. “Poppy,” he moaned into her mouth.
She wanted to let go. She wanted to melt into his arms, let him take her right there. Or at least let him take her back to the van. Body arching, she ground her pelvis against his. You don’t know what you’re doing, though, she thought. You’re a virgin. Eyes widening, she shoved him away. Her hands shook. She couldn’t have sex with him. It wouldn’t take long for him to figure out that she never had before. Then he would question how old she actually was, and everything would be ruined.
She gritted her teeth, angry with herself. She should have given it up in high school. Rather than focusing on her grades, she should have done what all of her friends had. At the time, she hadn’t thought it was that important. With every single boyfriend, she told herself she would get there eventually. Now, staring at Griff across the open space between them, she realized she had made a dire mistake.
“I’m sorry,” he blurted. “I can’t control myself around you.” He gave her a lopsided smile.
She crossed her arms. “We’re in the middle of the street.”
I can use this to my advantage. Now that I understand that this is just the way she is and not a problem that needs to be fixed, I can write with a lot more certainty.