Characters

A little chat about characters in August

I can’t imagine a worse job than being a neurologist stuck trying to study the brain of a writer. Even the prefrontal cortex of a reptile is complex. Writers create characters and those characters have needs, wants, and desires. Some become so real, they “come to life.”

August tends to be the month where I get a lot of writing done because I can sit alone in cabana without radio or internet and focus on a story. After one of those sessions, one of Mary Aker’s characters stopped by. Atlas was…unbalanced in the book. (No doubt you’re thinking I am as I tell you this.) He asked if I remembered a fight scene in her book. I did. He told me he had a problem with it. I nodded at him with the wary respect I lend to forest animals. He went away.

The next time I was out there and getting ready to leave, he showed up again and asked if I’d spoken to Mary. I told him I hadn’t had time and rushed away. Mary happened to text a breezy, hi-how-are-ya-I-miss-you. I told her I’d been thinking about her book.

Atlas reappeared and told me he thought a certain baby was his. I told him he was mistaken. The sperm was from – he cut me off. He claimed it was switched. Or mixed. There was a chance that it was his. I told Mary this. We had a zoom with Gina, and the subject was brought up. We all hashed out possible plot twists. What if a Gloria switched the sperm and told Atlas about it in a certain scene – trying to keep from rewriting down. It was a weird but good exchange. I was done with the matter. I went out, worked on my own story, and Atlas stayed away – satisfied, I suppose.

Gloria waited until I was cutting up fruit for dinner to make her appearance. She likes Atlas. She can’t have children, but sees nothing wrong with taking Sylvia’s baby away when it’s born. If there’s one successful pregnancy, there would be another. Sylvia could use the sperm of the specimen she really wanted. What was 9 months of delay?

I find it all rather Meta that these shifty characters Mary created had a way to pop into my head for a chat. Are all the abandoned characters out there waiting for us to notice them again? Would a neurologist be able to explain away the phenomena instead? These are the things that have been on my mind.

Otherwise, I’m rewriting a book which is frustrating because two characters that had little to do with each other in the original are about to fall into bed – or shoot each other. Either outcome challenges the rest of the plot. Sigh.

Husband had another happy 45th birthday.

The garden is producing many tomatoes.

The dog

Went to the groomer.

The rose bloomed.

Wild grapes were picked.

There was a nocturnal visitor at the hummingbird feeder.

Another section of the house is being painted.

And thus concludes this month’s blog post. You are wonderful and full of grace. Thank you for stopping by and for the read!

Happy Holidays and I hope you don’t have angst like mine.

So, I went to Gina’s last night. I thought I’d be late–Husband had filled the gas tank this time, but I wasn’t on the road two miles when a stupid light came on about the tire pressure and the squall was limiting my sight and I wondered if I was going to get there at all. I did, and I don’t know, it’s always awkward for me to go anywhere anymore. I feel like an intrusion with all my thoughts and insecurities.

In my head, everyone is a thousand times more pulled together than I could ever be.

Anyway, we were all sitting around the dining room table talking and discussing our lives, then went into the nuances of our current works in progress then back to real life matters.

Does anyone else get how comforting it is that Mary admitted that she sat there and had a panicky bit of time when she was talking about my novel to me? She said she twitched, but I didn’t see it, but when she said that, I got it exactly. It’s how I feel when I think about writing a book review.

The thing is that no matter my thoughts on another person’s work, it’s only my opinion, and who am I to judge PLUS they have a book published. Whether or it’s by a big house, a small press, or even self-published, it’s out there. Someone had the testicular fortitude to print it. Isn’t that an automatic 5 star review? I enjoy reading, but the writing about what I’ve read, not so much, which is funny because I don’t feel people are attacking me when they comment on my work–they are just talking about the story I’m trying to tell.

Don’t mind me, I had another rejection this morning so the career self-esteem isn’t there. And I feel like quitting. Not the writing, just the agent queries, the short story/essay/poem submissions, etc. Which is bunk. My hopes haven’t been completely dashed. Yet.

I will be taking a break as it is for the weekend. If I wrap up this post and the holiday letter, I’m done for the weekend, which is good since a slew of people are slated to arrive, dine, sleep and be on their way. After, I’m looking at a quiet few weeks where I’ll be assessing Mary’s comment that I put too much plot and too many characters in my books. Luckily, I was feeling that way about the latest that I scribbled out during NaNo–about having too many characters anyway.

I feel a bunch of colored index cards are about to be taped to the glass door soon. I may want to start with one as it is so someone doesn’t run into the damned thing, though it is so funny when it happens–mostly because it hasn’t happened to me. Yet. It looks painful.

 
(These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Priorities and/or delusions

Often, I have a list of topics to cover before I start my blog. Not so with this one. What I have is increasingly annoying notices that I am close to using up all of my monthly “usage,” so no pictures this time. I blame Snovember and having to send Husband’s pictures to his friends and family. If you need pictures, you can look on my Facebook page at a building that crumbled under the weight of the snow. We didn’t get a lot of snow here and I’m grateful for that.

It’s #PitMad on Twitter today. That will drive me over my usage amount, but if I get a tweet favorited by an agent, I’m willing to believe it will be worth it. I did get a favorite from an acquisitions editor last time, but even as I sent the requested material, I knew in my heart it wasn’t going to work out. Sometimes, I hate my sixth sense.

Thanksgiving was dignified and respectful. I’m glad of that. My niece and nephew will be flying into Buffalo in a few weeks for a Christmas visit, so after neglecting the housework while I worked on my latest novel, I’m cleaning the house, kicking out the spiders, and debating if I need to hold onto everything I touch. I’ve put several sweaters and shirts in the donation pile and three cookbooks are on their way, too.

So that is the fun going on around here recently. I’m enjoying this “break” from the novel. When I go back to rewrite it, I know I now have a much better sense of the character’s motivations that I didn’t in the first draft. One thing I will always love about writing is how characters come alive, reveal themselves, and alter what you thought their plotline was going to be. It’s the best kind of magic.

 

(These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences should vary.)