Tuesday, June 09, 2015

When characters start calling you

by Rick Blechta

It’s been enjoyable reading my blog-mates’ varied thoughts on the subject of characters. Let’s face it, characters are the most important aspect of writing fiction in most writers’ opinion. You can be telling the greatest tale in the world, but without a good character or two to inhabit it, your magnum opus will fall flat on its butt.

On the subject of characters, I’ve been having the most curious experience the past few weeks.

I’m finishing up a novella. My two characters, Pratt and Ellis, are developing nicely in this, their third appearance. I have a very clear idea of who they are, and this time out, I’m focusing on revealing their personalities more (within the framework of the “Rapid Reads Novella Mandate”).

The strange thing is my new series’ characters (one in particular) keep trying to talk to me. I’d tell her to bug off and wait her turn, but I’m worried she’ll be insulted (she can be a bit on the touchy side), stomp off and refuse to talk to me when I get back to work on the story in which she’s appearing. These intrusions have happened repeatedly, too.

For instance, last night I was working on a very critical chapter in the novella when she butted in, dragged in the other main character in her story too, and they started to tell me about her critical chapter which occurs near the beginning of the narrative. It was great stuff, too, so I dragged out my journal (where I keep notes) and started copying their words as quickly as I could.

Howls of protest went up about the intrusion from my novella’s protagonists, as well as a character who was in severe jeopardy at the time. I mean, how can you just up and leave when someone might very well lose his life?

Such is the schizoid existence of a fiction writer.

And now back to the chattering classes before I piss off someone else…

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