The other day something happened that has actually never happened to me before. It surprised me. I found myself in the middle of a fight between two of my characters.
Considering the fact that I create my novels by talking to my characters, you may not find this surprising. To be exact, my characters show me scenes that I may or may not use in my novels. Often I find one scene that's shown to me that I really hold onto for each novel. It's the scene I look forward to writing, and generally enjoy writing the most. As I've discovered, not all authors actually communicate with their characters the way I do. It's all a matter of whether you write more about your characters, or your plot.
My characters, however, tend to stick to themselves. I'm not sure if any of you noticed, but I tend to work on more than one project at a time. Which means that I usually have more than one character bouncing around in my head. Actually, if you count the sub characters (who don't generally speak up, but on occasion feel they have something important they need to tell me.) I have far too many characters in my head, all yammering for attention.
The one thing that they don't do, and I have always been very grateful for this, is they don't interact with characters from other novels. This helps me feel like I have some kind of control over the organization of all different novels, as well as makes it much easier to not get a headache.
Unfortunately on Thursday night, all of that apparently changed. I am currently in the process of plotting out two different novels, but I haven't actually had a whole lot of time to spend with each character. I'm doing my best, of course, but between critique group, editing my novel, and working a full time job, let's just say that they might not all be feeling as if I am spending enough time with them.
On Thursday night, the two main characters from the two novels that I'm plotting got into a fight over who should be getting more of my attention. They were actually bickering in my head. I've never had anything like that happen before.
Before you all go throwing me into a mental institution, I suppose I should explain a little bit better. Yes, I heard them bickering, but that's only because I put voices to images. What was really happening was a large amount of scenes tumbling together, as if they were both trying to get my attention, and trying to talk over the other one.
I managed to get them to stop (I always do) but in the end, I realized that they were right. I haven't been spending enough time with them. I started these projects knowing full well that once a character appears in my head, they don't generally disappear. In fact, they become more and more insistent until I actually pay some attention to them. I should have known something like this would happen when I started two different projects at essentially the same time.
So this week, despite the fact that I am way too far behind in my editing to actually do this, I am going to try and spend at least an hour or two with each of these characters. I am going to make sure I know their back stories and my goal is to be ready to actually start plotting out the collaboration novel by the end of the week. Do I think I'll actually manage it? Who knows. Lately I seem to be becoming quite good at procrastination. The point is, though, that I'm going to try.
Look out Audra and Jayne, we're going to have nice long chats this week.