Writing in the afternoon sun is delicious, especially with a dog at my side. A smelly muse of sorts.
I know I am blessed beyond measure to even get the opportunity to do this. To muse, to ponder, to push characters out of my psyche into life on the page.
Not everyone gets even this little bit of time, and certainly not everyone has strangers living in their unconscious, ready to audition for a part in the next saga. Or at least they don’t know they do.
I used to think people were bullshitting when they said characters take over, change the plot, create a new ending. Now I am a novel writer and I know that it’s true.
I thought my character Consuelo would be just a little spunky, but she turned out to be kind of a bitch. I didn’t plan for Romero’s drinking problem, he just kept drinking. I certainly didn’t plan the Karaoke scene – I just accidently said the character liked Karaoke in a pitch to an agent, and what do you know I am rewriting the book with plenty of drunken singing on stage. Where did that come from? I’ve never even tried Karaoke.
Perhaps I need to?
The character driven novel is just that – driven by these characters – these fools and sages, heroes and villains, everyday people with ugly secrets and ugly people with everyday secrets. I create these folks, give them a history, some quirks, something they love, someone they hate. I figure out if they like coffee or tea, prefer good sex to a good lasagna, wear clothes that match the weather or are perpetually unprepared.
Most of all I find out what they want, create a few obstacles, then get out of the way. They really do write the book for me, sans the scenery, which is my job. (Which I am still learning to do well.)
Faulkner said it better than I, of course.
It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.
Then again, Faulkner was quite a character.
Keep writing everyone!