Creative Blocks, High Society Superstitions, Finding Love, and Second-Hand Dresses 7

This week, Kendrick comes back and interrupts Lily. I also write a little bit about creative/writer's block, romance in restrictive societies, and the bad luck of having a failed duel means to a young woman.

Creative Blocks

As a writer, writer's block is a terrible thing. More than once, I've sat in front of the computer struggling to get the ideas to coalesce enough for me to write them. Most of the time, I have a gut feeling or an idea of how the words should go but the logical part, the one that actually writes English, doesn't mesh with my head. In that case, I sit there, trying to figure it out.

Writer's block is also magnified by stress in my life. The more things going on around me (low money, family in the hospital), I have an even harder time trying to get the words out. That is why going downstairs to write after a fight with my spouse never works, I just sit there staring at the screen.

I wanted to write that with Lily. She has a lot going on in her life but a critical piece of sewing that has to be done. If she could focus, then it would have been a simple affair to design and create the stress.

I don't like her that much.

The little problems in her life are the reason she can't come up with a proper design: Kendrick, Hasan, becoming a kudame, moving away from home, the discomfort of new quarters, and being torn away from her mother's social circle and finding out she doesn't have one of her own. She could handle each one of those also, just not together.

High Society Superstitions

There are always interesting things about a world as I focus on them. In this case, I'm building up the Tarsan High Society (at least the local one to this city). The belief that women are there to look pretty and have children is pretty integral to the culture (I don't agree but I can't honestly write utopias).

It isn't uncommon for men to duel over a desirable one. It is encouraged, the “manly” thing to do to prove their honor and self-worth. It is basically the same thing as beating chests or dick-measuring contests but in a more “social” structure.

The problem started when Hasan wouldn't accept defeat. He couldn't give up on Lily so he did some stupid things, there were mercenaries involved, and Rose Manor got set on fire.

Even though Lily had nothing to do with it (she's just a passive, pretty thing, remember?), society can't blame the men for “being boys.” They blame her instead. The troubles of the duel were attached to her and she was the one who became undesirable. Bad luck, as it were.

Why society is perfectly willing to drag Lily's reputation through the mud to justify why no one wanted her anymore, the family was far more discrete in how they punished Kendrick and Hasan. Like our society (unfortunately), “boys will be boys” drives a lot of what they did. Kendrick got sent away for two years (forced to join the navy) and Hasan was shuffled aside to learn how to be a bureaucrat/accountant/manager for the family. These are still “manly” jobs they could be proud of, but they never were explicitly shunned and abandoned like Lily.

Finding Love

So, given that Tarsan society is pretty petty when it comes to women, how can I write romance? Well, I honestly believe that love happens regardless of constraints. Lily can still find happiness and satisfaction with her lot in life, even with being a kudame or having two attractive men chasing after her.

These are the type of stories I like, finding joy in darker times. Being happy and in love when everything great is a fun story, but I like the struggle leading up to the ending, I like the tension and questions that come up before the final “I do” as it were.

Second-Hand Dresses 7: Reparations

Lily is having trouble focusing on the dress she was supposed to be making for Nirih. Something didn't sit with her thoughts and she just needs a few hours to figure it out.

Kendrick, on the other hand, had something else in mind.

Read the chapter at


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