I woke up this morning with an idea about changing the dialogue in one of my scenes. In this scene, Eric asks Zinovy if he’d like to be the commander. Zinovy says, “No. Too much responsibility.”
I think I can make the scene more powerful if I have Zinovy go on to explain that, while not wanting to command other people, he feels it is very important to be in command of his own life.
Zinovy’s near obsession to be in control of his own destiny is his driving motivation throughout the book, and from the first scene that control begins to be wrested away from him . The central conflict, then, becomes his struggle against the forces at work to take that control from him.
At 8:00 a.m. I got a late call to go to teach at one of the local high schools. The teacher needing a sub had entered his request wrong in the call-out system, so the TOC supervisor was calling for me at the last minute. I rushed off to school, still thinking about my new dialogue scene.
I wanted Zinovy to use an idiomatic expression in the conversation but I didn’t know how a Russian would say it. I thought, “I need to talk to a Russian about this.”
I got to school just before the end of the first class. The office had pulled another teacher-on-call from the music room into the class to keep a lid on things until I got there. The TOC reached out to shake my hand as I came in and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Alexei.”
This pleasant young Russian man has given me his contact information and is pleased to hear more about my book. I plan on asking him to be my Russian consultant. If he’s willing, I’ll pay him to read the book and give me feedback on it’s accuracy in language and customs, and I’ll also ask him for his opinion on how the story would come across to Russian readers.
My secret desire has always been to one day publish the story in Russia. (Well, I guess it’s not secret any more!)
This encounter was another little step on my writing journey. I see the footprints in the Russian winter snow Zinovy is plodding through—the footprints left by the One Who is going down the road ahead of us both.