Recently I was typing along and as I did things popped into my story which I hadn’t anticipated, leaving me looking at my characters and thinking, “you could have told me”. Not once, but twice.
Then another character, which isn’t even one of my main characters (i.e.: she isn’t a POV character) actually got in an argument with me about a scene I had to write for her. I couldn’t fathom why I had to write it nor was I about to make my monster even bigger by adding one more POV.
She is, however, one smart cookie, and made her point. I did need what turned out to be three scenes, which I was able to write from the viewpoint of two of my main characters who she interacted with.
On an even more recent occasion, I asked Bonnie if she was writing and she said in a nutshell, “no, I’m mulling over stuff that doesn’t come up yet in my story”.
I told her to get her characters talking about what she was still writing.
She said it was actually a secondary character who wanted his story told, something that would be part of the next book. After she explained in full what the problem was I offered my solution. Write a scene for the guy and see if it appeased him.
Then just the other day my girls and I were in the kitchen talking, I could not tell you what brought it up, but at some point we were talking about people’s behavior and we decided that my youngest daughter had characteristics like one of the twins in my opus while my oldest son had those of his twin brother.
As I was thinking of all of these real conversations, I often wonder what non-writers think about us writers. It is somewhat hilarious when my girls and I will get to talking about our stories and the people in them and my poor husband will come into the conversation totally thinking we’re talking about real people and wondering where we met them.
“Who exactly is Harry, and what did he do?”
(Just an example. Any character names could be substituted.)
My point being, writers talk about characters like they are real people, because to us they are. They tell us their stories and ask us to write them. Most of the time they let us know what is coming up in their story before we get it down on paper, or screen. We even have arguments with them.
When those characters won’t talk to us, we stare a blank screen and wonder what to do to get them talking again, or try to find another character who will tell their story. That’s why writer’s, like Bonnie, with ADD, have several books going at one time. If one character won’t talk, then fine, I’ll talk to this one over here.
I personally do have several stories I could work on, however my opus has seven POV characters and more supporting characters than I care to count, making a number of stories in one. So while I may only being working on one book, I’ve got several characters talking to me.
Then there are the other books whose characters are quietly waiting in the background for their turn. I’m also sure as soon as I’m finished with one, another one will come along. There is always going to be another story to tell. Remember that, the next time you stare a blank page or screen, and no characters are talking to you.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.