Silent Passengers – A Conversation with Becky


Becky is a fictional character in the short story that I’m working on. I probably should’ve had this story completed by now, but I don’t. Ah well. It’ll be done when it’s done.

You might still consider the whole conversation to be complete nonsense. But I’m hoping that you enjoy it, of course. Speaking to our characters and getting to know them is all part of the writing process, so I know I’m not alone in this – giving me that little extra dose of courage to share with you.

And without further delay, here is our conversation, as best I remember it.

Becky: A bump on the head. Seriously? You couldn’t come up with a more dignified way for me to die?

Me: I could’ve, but the bump on the head felt right to me. I wanted your death to be a freak accident. You have to agree it worked.

Becky: That’s easy for you to say. I’m the one who died needlessly. Why couldn’t you just give me a story in which I lived. There are lots of other journeys that I could’ve taken before this final one. I mean, where can you take my story from here?

Me: I probably should’ve given you more time at the beginning. I really am sorry you had so little time before the accident, Becky. In my defense, this is only a rough draft that I’m sharing on my blog. And your story started out as a flash fiction writing piece, remember. I wanted to throw the reader into the plot as soon as possible. Then I realized about halfway through that I couldn’t finish it by the end of one post. I promise to give you more time if/when I put the story together. Right now, I’m still getting to know you. And like I said, it was suppose to be a single post, so I wasn’t thinking past that one post when I sat down to write.

Becky: And what’s up with the drinking problem? Why did you make me an alcoholic? There are other ways of dealing with your problems, you know.

Me: I know. I know. But I wanted you be imperfect and real. In the real world, people drink, and some people drink too much. I wanted to highlight that alcoholism is a serious disease that can affect anyone. It’s not a personality defect. Alcoholism doesn’t make you less than the next person, or the next character in your case. No one’s perfect and everyone is fighting their own battle.  The drinking problem just means you’re human like the rest of us. And the feedback tells me that readers haven’t judged you for it. I’ll admit to having been a little worried about that. But as it turns out, readers are pretty awesome  – and smart.

Becky: When are you gonna tell readers about the other thing?

Me: Soon enough. I don’t want to rush your story. Besides, your story isn’t about that. Although I know it’s caused you a lot of pain. It’s one of the reasons I placed Amy inside your heart, so to speak. She’s there to give you strength and keep you company on your journey, even when I’m not writing.

Becky: You’ve definitely been taking your time. But there are moments when I get the impression that you don’t really know what you’re doing with my story. Should I be worried, Brenda?

Me: That’s because I really don’t know what I’m doing, Becky. This is my first attempt at writing something longer than a flash fiction story. As you know, I’ve mostly written poetry. But I won’t give up on your story. I’ll probably make mistakes along the way as usual, so you’ll need to bear with me. And I don’t know how long it’ll take me to finish your story, or where your story will end. I guess we’ll find that out together.

Becky: Wouldn’t the ending be obvious, given my situation?

Me: Maybe. But I’ve learned to never jump to conclusions. I like to leave some wiggle room for the unexpected. Things have a way of not working out as planned. You know that as well as I do, Becky.

Becky: Yes I do. Speaking of which, I was surprised when you made me a journalist. You know nothing about journalism, which means I know nothing about journalism. Not that it matters much where I’m at.

Me: To be honest, I’m not sure, Becky. I wanted you to have a career that I admire – meaning I could’ve chosen any number of careers, I guess. I actually thought about making you a teacher before I sat down to write. At least I have some idea about that. But I wanted to step outside my comfort zone. If need be, I could do some research. Then I’d feel like a real writer, maybe. Or I could still make you a teacher. Who knows? Teachers own cats too.

Becky: I don’t want to be a backseat driver, but the story does seem a little slow up to now. A bit more action might help to liven things up for the reader – no pun intended, of course.

Me: I would love to throw in more action, but I’m not sure it’s that kind of story, Becky. Although I’ll keep it in mind. I’m still figuring things out. As always, only time will tell. Speaking of time, I’ll have to get cracking soon. Your story won’t write itself. By the way, I might share our conversation on my blog at some point. If I do, would you mind if someone asks you a question?

Becky: I haven’t spoken to anyone besides you and Amy in what seems like forever. It might do me good. I’m not sure if readers have noticed, but I spend a lot of time inside my head – you might want keep that in check. It’s not that interesting in there. You don’t think readers will find it strange?

Me: What’s that?

Becky: Well, I’m not actually real. I’m a fictional character in an unfinished story. And you’re offering readers the opportunity to ask me questions.

Me: Uhm. I hadn’t thought of that, Becky. Maybe I should just leave the last part out. Although I try to be honest with readers. So maybe I’ll leave it, and let them draw their own conclusions.

Well, that’s it for now. Until next time, be kind to yourself. You’re worth it.✨

A woman holding a feather pen while writing at her desk.

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