I find it fascinating that these short additions—per my editor's request, well she indicated the main character was not likeable—are taking much longer to craft. I spent a good hour on the short segment below.
I am trying to humanize the main character, Elisa, more so I can move on and work on my novel, The Harvest, and other revisions. But, these short sections, really do add more depth to Elisa, I think. They also help with the pacing which I recognize is too fast right now, and I don't want my story to read like a ridiculously fast-paced movie.
So, here is a segment I added between flashbacks to give Elisa more depth, maybe even add another layer as to why she is so fucking angry.
As she agonized in her boring, blank cell, Elisa missed the university library. She loved reading random books. Once she had spent hours learning about Julia Child’s history for no other reason than she was intrigued by risotto. She learned that Julia Child’s had an ideal marriage, sadly childless, but the empress of cooking made up for that in success.
Julia Childs like Elisa had to put up with men, who looked down on her, but Childs was also stubborn and unwilling to bend to their will. For Elisa, it was one of her professors Mr. Leon, of Puerto Rican descent, and if she thought a fellow Latino in the academy would treat her with respect—she was utterly wrong. He thought her study of women was not marketable and wanted her to study Chicano history, even Mexican history. Elisa had stormed out of his office and almost run back to section P in the stacks, where she read about searing meat and choosing mushrooms at a French market, between tears.
But at least she had her Gregory who supported her academic achievements, even though he himself hated to read. At least she had her little boy whom she was going to raise to love and respect women. Maybe she would even teach him to cook like Julia.
So I had this aha moment about how to format the magical realism in this story: comma splices. Real Spanish magical realism has these intensely beautiful, ornate sentences that often include comma splices and fused sentences, but they work. The tone of these segments also needs to be elevated, somehow, to emphasize certain aspects of the magical realism. There is this connection between nature and La Bruja that needs to be enhanced. I am also doing the same for Alexander, Elisa's little boy, who is more tuned into his surroundings at a heart level.
Normally, when I include magical realism, the events are seamless, like anime. But, I want to do something different between what the main character is experiencing, the magical realism, and the flashbacks. For now, though I want to finish adding the segments to round Elisa out a little more, and then add more description, as my editor suggested. I am not a fan of describing everything visually, but there needs to be more sensory detail.
Reinvent something new today in your writing. #Resist
Dr. Jesú Estrada,