When I began the rough draft “Boundaries,” I didn’t know that it would be about just that – crossing boundaries. Only when this occurred to me in later drafts did I come up with the title. It’s an example of what can happen when a writer follows his nose. He discovers what he didn’t know: what his story is about on the deepest levels.
Now I wonder how many other serious works of fiction – both novels and short stories – are about people crossing boundaries they shouldn’t and those they probably should. In my story one of the two POV characters withholds his identity from a client and begins and affair with her before she knows he is to be her attorney – a transgression for which redemption becomes his challenge. Later, after his client retains him as her attorney because she has no other realistic choice, they become so passionately involved in her very difficult child custody case that they begin a pattern of violating legal boundaries together. My struggle as a writer (even before I knew it) was to encourage my readers to follow their story without judgment and even to find compassion for flawed human beings. The story also finds them struggling to cross personal boundaries that are important to cross – the resistance to sincere intimacy as a consequence of difficult past experiences.
I’d like to hear from readers about novels and short stories that have this theme or similar ones. I’d like to hear from writers about their work as well.
Happy reading and writing to all of you.