Have you ever…

…written a character that you are completely and hopelessly in love with? I’m afraid this has happened to me. I’m obsessed with this character Yves Santiago that I created for my novel “Her Haberdashery” last year (which I am in the process of editing right now). I can’t seem to stop writing about her. When I’m writing short stories, I picture her in the female role. In my mind she looks sort of like Selma Hayek, tiny, latina, feisty, ridiculously beautiful and completely irresistible. It’s hard for me to let her go…but I’m beginning to get the feeling that she might want to break up with me and that makes me…a little sad?

I guess in order for any of you to understand this I have to explain my writing process a bit. You all already know that I do these little story boards in my moleskine. That’s how I build my characters. I’m sort of a visual person. I need to be inspired by prettypeopleplacesthings. But once I get past that stage and start taking notes something else happens.
Hmmm…how do I explain this without sounding like a complete lunatic?)

I guess I sort of wait for my characters to talk to me. And when I say talk, I mean that in my minds eye, the charcter will sit down next to me on my favorite park bench and begin a dialogue. To date, Yves is my most talkative character. From the very start she was sort of running the show. I didn’t do an outline at all. She just sat down and started talking in fast spanish, “Here’s what I want you to say…” “Don’t forget to mention…” “I think we should talk about…” Sometimes I even found myself going through internal arguments with her because she was constantly wanting me to write about things that weren’t really critical to the story line, “I want to talk about my father.” she says. “I think he’s the reason why I have such a fucked up idea of relationships.” “I understand that,” I say gently. “But we’re not discussing that in this book. We’re only talking about how you deal with relationships for right now. What your father did isn’t really relevant.” “Who are you to say what we talk about? Isn’t this my story? We should tell it the way I want, right?” And it went on and on like this for months! I often felt like she was hovering next to my bed while I slept, waiting for daybreak so she could rouse me and make me write. I don’t know if this is normal writing behavior or if any of you suffer from this particular form of neurosis but it can be quite exhausting.

Anyway…the annoying, fast-talking, hot latina grew on me. I hated her at first but when I was done writing I felt her absence. I think that is the reason why I thought I should write about her again. But this time it wasn’t the same. I wrote an outline. And once the outline was done I wasn’t really excited to write it. It sat in the WIP file on my laptop for at least two weeks before I looked at it again. When I began writing this next installment it felt flat but I kept forcing it anyway. Twenty two chapters in I had to come to the realization that this just wasn’t meant to be. This person I was writing was not Yves. These experiences I was writing didn’t feel like hers and when I tried to ask her what she wanted to say and what she wanted to happen she had nothing. She would just shake her head sorrowfully and say, “That’s not me…” “I would never do that…” “I thought you knew me…” Gah, she seems so disappointed. I feel like I’ve let her down and now I’m pretty sure she wants to leave me. 😦 I guess I have no choice but to let her go but it makes me soooo saaadddd!

Okay, enough ranting from the crazy lady. I swear I’m not really insane…maybe I should go out today and talk to people that I haven’t made up in my head…
The weather is lovely and if I go sit on my favorite park bench, maybe a new character will come sit next to me!

p.s. this really is my park bench. Just looking at this picture makes me feel inspired 🙂

2 Replies to “Have you ever…”

  1. First, yes I have fallen in love with characters, and yes they are often ones who I don’t like so much when I start writing about them.My characters grow from the inside. As I work in the kitchen, mow the lawn, when I’m at work, driving, whatever, scenes run in my head. Many of these scenes server only to help clarify their characters; the scenes do not end up in the stories.Keep talking to, and listening to, those wonderful characters in your head.

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