As I read a series of books about the same character, I often find myself wondering what happens in between the crises that they find themselves in. I mean, I know that to make a book exciting, your main character has to be confronted with a problem, and the story is about how they solve the problem and become a better person. But sometimes I feel sorry for them. They never seem to have any time to be ordinary people. They never get any time to prop their feet up on the coffee table and watch the game, or putter around in the garden, or just hang out with their family. They’re always off to the next big problem. Don’t they get any time off? I guess I’m unusual. I want to read the scene that doesn’t move the plot forward, the one that just shows the character living life.
For example, Tania (the main character in my book, The Sixth Power) has a lot of fun teaching her dog, Peter, tricks. Because of the enhanced connection between them, she can communicate telepathically with him. She is able to teach him things no ordinary dog would know, like watching the traffic lights so he can safely cross the street. She spends a lot of time on finding things, getting specific things from cupboards or the fridge, answering questions (one bark for yes, two barks for no), tracking, and watching TV. She also teaches him hand signals for commands. She even begins to teach him how to read (although that one may be beyond even Peter’s capabilities). When Tania is with her friends, she shows off what latest trick Peter has learned, and they are all amazed at how smart her dog is. And how does Peter feel about all this? Peter is very happy, because he is having fun with the person he loves most in the world. Very little of this training is shown in the actual book because there isn’t time to present it if the story is to arc properly. Perhaps that’s why some DVD movies include deleted scenes or added material. There is something in us that wants to know more. We connect with the character. We’ve become friends over the course of the story, and we want to continue that relationship into ordinary life. Most of the time, however, we are left to read between the lines.