Friday, July 27, 2012
Unsurprisingly, Liz McLancy was the first character that came into my head for this story (which is likely why it's her story). In the middle of my Philosophy class sophomore year of college, she just came slinking into my head and started talking.
What did she tell me about that day?
She told me that there was a family reunion she didn't want to go to, that she didn't want to return to her childhood home because there was something from her teenage years that was still haunting her, and that she and her older sister had been outnumbered in the decision to come back. So come back she did, with her own family.
I knew nothing more than that. At that time, I had no idea what was holding her back from returning home. I had no idea what her demons were.
Granted, for the entire first draft, the "present" version of Liz was married and had two daughters, but something changed the more I thought about it. And that's exactly what she says in the opening of the story--she doesn't know exactly what Eric is to her, she doesn't know the term, because she'll never get married again. (You'll find out more about that in a while.)
Several things about Liz never changed, though. She's a quiet girl who feels like she falls into the background, even in her own family. She looks up to her older sister, Jackie, which is what inevitably gets her into the sticky situation you see her getting into. She's uncertain about her own beliefs about anything, but in particular anything regarding religion--but she's so desperate to fit in somewhere, to be part of something, to be more than a shadow, that she's willing to try to believe in anything. And, in the glimpses into the "present", she has demons that she does not want to face, but that she must.
Of course, I won't tell you about all of her demons. You've only just begun to see the root of them--this is when things start to get a little interesting. Hopefully, her strange behavior in the "present" sections, her exaggerated reactions to what may seem like everyday situations, these will become explained as you see what she experiences within the Children.
And in case you're wondering, Liz is entirely the reason for the novel's title. She's not strong--not in a traditional sense, and often not even in an emotional or mental sense. She's able to be easily manipulated and it takes her some time to find any kind of strength in the situation she'll find herself in. But this battle is entirely her own.