Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Girl That Won't Shut Up. The Book That Writes Itself.

I always feel better when a writer, a real published author, talks about characters that won't shut up, as I am familiar with dialogue between characters that can wake a person in the night.  These characters must be heard and don't stop talking until they are.  The fact that others experience this same phenomenon, the brain working hard on something while its owner sleeps, may mean I'm not just completely loopy.  I'm hoping that's what it means, anyway.

I don't know if I'm any good, if I could ever have one of my novels published.  I really don't care.  But when writing becomes almost otherworldly I sit with my jaw hanging and just do what I'm "supposed" to do and scribble down what's being "said", always on paper because I'm such a slow, clumsy typist. 

Well, Novel 1 has been bothersome.  It's been going for my entire adult life and I just can't finish it.  I think maybe that I don't really want to.  Maybe it's just mine.  Something I use for practice, or as a creative outlet when others bore me.  Something no one else ever needs to see.

Novel 2 is my favorite.  I am passionate about every detail of this historical book.  Though I've put a lot of effort into getting the story told seamlessly, it's really as if it has written itself.  I come up with an idea, set a scene, add a detail, and it all fits in perfectly with the historical events that bracket my chosen time period.  I have basically reverse researched it.  All I've had to do is double check to make sure the lives and actions of my characters are appropriate to the time.  They always are with this book.  I don't know how or why.  I just trust that the story will get told.

Then there's the character who just won't shut up in Novel 3.  I don't even know who she is yet, I just write what's in her head.  What she sees, what she does, what she thinks, where she goes.  I had an eerie "encounter" with this girl the other day right on the X that marks the spot on the planet where the opening scene of Novel 3 takes place.  I didn't actually run into her, of course, but I swear it felt as if she had just turned the corner and hurried out of sight.  Where I was standing, where she is standing and moving through chapter one, was as familiar to me as if I had stood there before.  But I hadn't ever physically been there.  I had only seen the location through her eyes and an old 19th Century map.  And when my feet led me down the alleyway to the open plaza in which my story unfolds, I stood in utter amazement.  Everything looked just as it had when I was writing about it because I remembered what she was seeing.

The funny thing is that I had intended that afternoon to do the five minutes of picture taking and research I needed to finish Novel 2, as both have scenes that take place in the same historical city.  The girl from Novel 3 had other ideas, I guess.  She simply refused to be ignored.  Okay.  I "hear" you, Miz Priority One.

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