Every so often the characters in my stories take control of their own lives. This is a fiction writer’s dream.
The dream part is when story practically writes itself and all you need to do is make sure your fingers are limbered up for the long haul on the keyboard. Love it. The nightmare part is when you’ve spent time outlining the story, doing your research, and boom – those stubborn characters don’t give a rip about how much work you’ve put into creating them. They just do what they want to do and you’re along for the ride. Believe me, it NEVER turns out the way you planned.
I have been working on one particular novel for a long time. A really long time. The initial story idea came to me over 25 years ago and it’s still evolving. The main character is a strong woman, but she doesn’t think she is so I’ve been able to keep her in check up to this point. But I can tell she is about ready to break out. She’s begun to interrupt my day with little snippets of information and a few times she’s even invaded my dreams at night with her constant chatter. This is odd for her because she’s normally pretty quiet.
She wants her story told. All of it. And the only way that will happen is if I let her do the telling. So . . . yesterday I started over.
I listened to this brave woman. I felt her joy and pain and turmoil. I wrote the words as she spoke them. I began to see who she really is and not who I thought she was. No wonder she tried so hard to get my attention. I didn’t know her like I thought I did, and she knew it.
Thank you, Julia, for giving me a shove in the right direction.
But please, let’s work on this during waking hours from now on.