What to do, what to do? Do people even read fiction anymore? Lots of people are writing it, but who’s reading it? How many times do I hear someone say something like, “But is it true?” Or “I like true stories about real people.” Real people? Who are they? The people on reality television? Eeek!
Anyway, why care about people who don’t exist? What’s the point? I love fiction. I love the characters. They might as well be real people for the way I feel about the characters I read about. I do and I don’t understand why some people just don’t care for fiction. Storytelling is one of the world’s oldest traditions–certainly older than writing them down. Humanbeings have always told stories! But then again..you don’t obviously learn a skill or information to use during your day. Who has the energy to spare for the nonexistent.
But my characters exist for me. So, what should my characters do to get people to care? The blog should tell what story? Should I make them tell wilder stories? Sexier ones? How to keep them friends and give them drama?
I need to be true to my so-called writerly vision, but I need to make readers happy. Oh, that elusive love–the reader. When I was single, I thought getting a man was a near impossible task (no joke there) but now I know–seducing a reader is its own circle of relationship hell.
Where do my characters go from here? How to make them more seductive? Well, how is anyone seductive if no one is looking?
Writing a blog in real time and writing a novel (what? in fake time?) is messing with my head. I feel like that guy in Stranger than Fiction when the psychiatrist tells him he has schizophrenia and he keeps telling her he doesn’t. Oh the voices! But of course I’m the narrator and sometimes I do kill one of the voices (and no character has hunted me down and begged me not to).
Anyway, in almost any situation I find I can create a dialogue inside my head for one of my characters–even if I know that character is never going to be in a similar situation. Once in a while I toy with the idea of creating dialogue for myself, but for some crazy reason, real people won’t cooperate. They insist on saying what they want instead of the clever lines I’ve imagined for them.
This blog is supposed to be about the writing life and the life of my characters. But this I just have to go on about.
So, I decide to put my blogs on Globe of Blogs, and there is this amazing list of topics to check regarding said blog. These categories are divided into categories like “education” and “hobbies” and such. One category is subculture, which has loads of choices from 20-something to grrrl to goth to geek. And my favorite? Tall People. Tall people are a subculture! OMG. I’m part of a subculture…and to think I never knew. Oh, you say, are short people on the list? Nope. Sorry, but you short people are not a subculture. But I am.
The next time somebody says to me, “Wow, you’re tall,” I’m going to say, “That’s subculture to you buddy.”
Today vacation ended and I had to head back to school, and my heart was not in it. There was a time when new notebooks, pens, highlighters, and textbooks gave me a thrill–I mean few things say my future’s so bright as a new notebook. I could spend way too much time picking just the right one.
But now I sit there in the teacher’s meeting thinking about my novel. I meet new teachers and I wonder how I’d describe them in a book. And then my boss asks everybody to start the term on a positive note and share what we are looking forward to this semester and what are our goals. I figured that saying, “Finishing this novel, writing about Mercie for NaNo 2007, and getting an agent” is not the answer he’s looking for.
Not wanting to lie, I said, “I’m looking forward to my writing class and my goal is to balance my work life with my other life.” I heard a new teacher say, “I wish I had an other life.” I ignored that–I mean, I’ve got no other-life wand. Another teacher recently got back from this amazing MA program and she’s got lots and lots of brilliant ideas and part of me is interested..I do want to be good at my job…really. And I like my students. And god knows I need to get out of my house and out of my head and talk to people. But I was still sitting there thinking–hmmm, how am I going to get Sean to burn that house down? And should Becker and Deva sleep together? Hmm…decisions, decisions.
This is why you should procrastinate on your writing..if you don’t, it will take over your life.
And I still haven’t answered those questions, dammit!
One character who gets talked about in the blog is Tim. Course, since he doesn’t work at The Sunlight, he doesn’t get a word in, but he’s a presence all the same. But he’s also a character in the novel I’m working on which takes place before the blog begins. So I know things about his past that Lin doesn’t.
He really wants to be a good guy, and he’s changed. But his high school friends were amazing jerks–to put it mildly–and Lin, if she knew everything, would probably never have given him the time of day. After all, birds of a feather and all that. If his best friends are bastards, isn’t he? But I want him redeemed anyway. And of his past friends,well, one’s dead and the other is, I can’t decide–either in jail or in the marines. No offense to the marines, but he was the kind of character who’d join anything that might let him abuse power.
The trick is creating a character who does some idiotic and jerky things but who is not an idiot or a jerk. And Lin has to figure this out about him and blog about it. Of course, as of today, I have no faith that relationship is going to last no matter what she learns about him.
Getting characters from the blog to match up with themselves in the novel is a good lesson in character development and consistency. Lucky for Linnie that she’s in the blog because now I can’t kill her off in the novel.
In the novel I’m trying to finish now, a girl is wrecking havoc on her sister’s life. It amazes me how many characters I find to help her in this endeavor. Where do these people come from? An unoriginal question, but it’s hard not to ask it when these vindictive, cruel, thoughtless people come out of your own head–like exposing that side of your life that you spend so much time to make nice with.
Then again, fiction is fiction and I’m not my characters any more than JK Rowling is Voldemort, Stephen King is a rabid dog, or Breton Ellis is a serial killer. Imagination is a amazing and beautiful thing. And plenty of amazing and beautiful things can scare the hell out of us.
I think I’m rambling. Too much time in the woods of Lake Belle, which have taken a life of their own, manipulating events, an evil character in its own right. Oh, the history of the dark and wicked woods in literature…perhaps I read too many fairy tales as a child. But the first book that I read where the woods made a lasting impression on me was this now out-of-print novel by Bonnie Jones Reynolds. I’ve never met another person who’s read The Truth about Unicorns, but it was my favorite book when I was sixteen. I read it ten times before I left for college and I had to check it out of the library. That book may very well be the root of my writing now.
A mysterious wood, foolish young people, mental illness, and a touch of magic…perfect.
Well, I can’t do a scan for alien tech ala the Doctor or Captain Jack, but I feel like an alien has taken up residence in my laptop and only a professional is going to get the blighter out of there. Unfortunately, while the Doctor saves the day for free, earthling techies do not. But enough of the Doctor Who allusions (any excuse!). One of these days my power cord simply isn’t going to work and my laptop will power off and that will be that until I can afford to send it in for rescue. New power cord won’t do the trick because the problem is where the thing goes in–or so it seems. Can’t say for sure since I can’t scan the thing myself.
But these days I’ve connected so much of my creative life to this tech world…and I don’t want to go back!
I just needed to fret out loud and wish I had a sonic screwdriver…sigh…
Tonight Mercie has a date. How ridiculous this date is going to be remains to be seen (the night is young!), but it will not lead anywhere. This is a note to my future NaNo self that she must be single come November. Very single. And celibate (as these two things not necessarily related).
I don’t know the full plot of this year’s NaNo, but I know where it starts and this year (year four!) I’ll have to keep real time characters in sync with novel characters. Lunacy…but I can hardly wait. I think.