Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Living with your characters

I find the characters I have (supposedly) created for my novel really do seem to have lives of their own. Sometimes they yell at me about not getting enough page time, or they tell me they are NOT going to do what I planned for them to do. As soon as I start writing that particular scene, they balk. They will not speak, they move like heavy, poorly strung puppets. Other times, their stories come pouring out, vining together with other characters, showing me their relationships, their affections, and their biases. It's pretty amazing to be writing along and have a character holding a pad and pencil and as I see him in my mind, there he stands, pencil in his left hand. "By golly,"  I say, "That guy is left-handed. I wonder if that means anything in my story. Why is he left-handed?" At this point I do not know.

My heroine is neurotic, for sure. Conflicted, as any honest person living a lie would be. Can I even call her an honest person? Does she know how to be honest any more after ages of living a double life? What "tangled web" will catch her, forcing an explosion in my plot? I rub my hands in glee. Conflict, at least on the page, makes me joyful. Conflict means there's something interesting going on she's going to have to deal with. 

Tonight, as I lay my head on my pillow and just begin to cuddle down under the comforter, someone will probably yell at me, "I don't like the flowers you put in my garden, I can't stand my sister, I want a horse," and other such crazy details. But tonight I'm jotting down a few notes, then telling them to shut up. It's been a long day.

1 comment:

  1. I picture you sitting at the computer with a cast of characters hanging out in the room with you.