Revising Soal: Claiming a Choice

Did you listen to them? Arro asked wildly. Did you . . . eat?

Soal hid her face on the pallet. Tears spilled onto the cloth, and she clutched herself, as if that would keep the memories from spilling out, too. A million memories rose at her throat like a word that wished to be spoken. A million memories of blue-lit voices, tender, flickering hands, and a vision of the home they–and she–had been severed from.

And in that instant, something cold came over her. She could not let Arro see these memories. She would not.

Revising Soal was an unexpectedly intense experience. I revised in a sprint, performing in four weeks what should have taken four months. But even in the rush of revisions, there were beautiful moments. I think that is what writing has to be, Even as I felt the pressure to hurry, I knew that no writing could happen unless I learned to pause, slow down, and nurture the story’s magic.

One of my favorite parts of the experience was exploring Soal’s determination. As I rounded out the plot and created breathing space for different character arcs, Soal had more time to sit with the pressure of her sister, the pressure of her society, and then hold their forbidden “fruit” in her hands.

I remember adding a scene where Soal had stolen a flower that her race was forbidden to touch. I remember her tension as she crouched at the edge of a lake, people surging past her towards the water, while she waited in silence, the forbidden flower concealed in her mouth,

She had time to hold that decision. To hold both the pressures of enmeshment alongside her own, conscious decision. Not as a reaction, but as a dawning, soul-deep clarity.

I am glad I have been able to sit with the clarity of writing Soal. Her journey has been a choice to articulate what my soul needed to speak.

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