Editing: Putting some meat on those story bones

The biggest thing I’m learning about my writing as I edit is that I’m really bad about zeroing in on things when I’m getting down my first draft.

Nearly all of my editing thus far has been fleshing out secondary characters, or minor plot points I left seeds for in the first draft. Even Rain only barely got any scrap of character development, and Zig- my biggest character of a character- hardly did anything at all.

Fortunately, I can fix that in this go round.

It wasn’t always like this, was it?”

Rain softened, unfolding a little. “Well, no. When it was just us, she was always really good about making time for me, even around work and everything. The whole single mom thing, ya know?”

Zig nodded sympathetically, though really he had no idea. Neither her or Tripp remembered a thing about their life before. But that was his deal. Right now they needed to untangle Rain, not dredge up Zig’s long lost issues.

She was all I had, and she knew it…” Rain trailed off, more confused than ever. She simply hadn’t thought about it til now, but her mom’s change was more than drastic, it was like she was a whole different person.

“This isn’t like her at all,” she finally said. “My mom has completely changed. Like some crazy evil twin crap is going on.”

Zig winced, not liking the conclusion he’d come to. It was a pretty common scenario, witches picking up talented humans and taking them in. Sometimes, it was happily ever after, the witch parent treating the child as their own, but more often… Well, the was a reason the rest of the supernatural community avoided witch-kin. They weren’t always careful about respecting the rights of other races.

There was no good way to say this, and no time to dance around. He’d wasted too much time already.

Rain, honey, your step-dad’s a witch. And I’m pretty sure he has your mother enthralled.”

Rain stared at him like he’d grown that second head she’d been expecting.. Zig bit his lip to keep from swearing. He took a deep breath, and tried to continue calmly but quickly.

Look, there’s not a lot of time to explain all this. Your mom’s up there, freaking out, and the more distressed she gets the harder it’ll be to suppress her memories without seriously messing her up. Your step-dad isn’t going to let her remember anything about magic or witches or fey – if she even knows anything at this point. We don’t reveal ourselves. It’s never worked out well for us. So he’ll have to shut her memories down, but the human mind doesn’t like to let go of trauma very easily. So the more upset she gets, the more he’ll have to cut away.”

The words came out in a tumbled rush, each thing he said needing its own explanation, until he’d buried her under an avalanche of information and she was left blinking at him in confusion. He pulled himself up short and tried to get to the point.

If he has to, he’ll wipe everything that might remind her of today. Including you. It’s not ethical, but if he had the justification, he’d do it, and witch law would probably back him up. We don’t want to give him an excuse.”

Rain was reeling, but the fact that her mom was in danger was clear. Despite the mess that life was now, she loved her mom, and couldn’t let anything bad happen to her. Her brain wouldn’t even process the idea of her mom not even remembering her anymore.

So what do we do? Do I have to go home with them?”

Zig nodded, and held an arm out to offer her a hug. “That’s probably the best option, for now.”

Rain threw herself into his side, not realizing how badly she’d wanted to be held until it was offered. Thinking about how her mom was before, trying to imagine that gone for good, being a stranger to her, alone in the world… She clung to Zig like he was the only solid thing in the world, tears finally overwhelming her. She shook while she cried, and Zig pulled her close, rocking her and making shushing sounds. He almost missed her whisper.

I don’t want to be forgotten.”

His chest physically ached for her, and he wished he could just fairy-godmother-it and make everything better for her with a wave of a wand. He couldn’t do that, but he had to do something for the kiddo. He couldn’t just send her away like this, lost and scared with no one to make it better.

Here, gimmie your phone.”

He held his hand out by her face, and she sat up enough to slip it out of her pocket and hand it over before burying her face in his ribs again. He shifted his arm around her so he could both hands while he spoke. I’ll plug my number into your phone and you can call or text me whenever, ok? I’ll make sure you don’t stay lost, or get kept out of the loop or anything, alright?”

He set her phone back in her lap and wrapped both arms around her, rocking again. He kissed the top of her head, whispering into her hair.

“It’s gonna be alright kiddo. I won’t let you get forgotten.”

Rain squeezed her eyes shut against the tears, taking one deep breath after another until she finally felt ready to face the world again. It had been a helluva day. When she pulled back, Zig let her go, giving her one last pat on the shoulder.

“Alright, Rainy day. Show time?”

She nodded, wiping her eyes. “What do I have to do?”

That’s more the Zig and Rainy I know. 🙂

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