Monday, June 14, 2010

Character Backlash

I've been saying for a couple of weeks now that I am going to get back into my manuscript. And this weekend--I tried. I read everything I've written to date over again (the initial 200 pages that I had scrapped and the next 45 I wrote recently) to see if I could salvage anything that qualified as usable.

Yeah, it so did not work. It's just not going where I need it to go.

I'm honestly going to have to start anew--which is okay, because I have tons of ideas doing battle in my mind for their chance in the spotlight.

I decided however, that I wanted to use the same main characters. I've spent so much time developing them, and making them mine that I am loath to let them go. They're like real people to me. I hear their thoughts. I feel their emotions. (I'm not crazy though... right?)

But I couldn't get back into them either. Too much time had passed. I missed them dearly, yet it was like they had given up on me. It was very disconcerting.

So what I ended up doing was writing a very short story on my re-encounter with them. When I re-read it, I was surprised to see what had transpired and how--I don't know--dark--my two charismatic main characters suddenly seemed.

Things are different now, but instead of telling you, I am going to show you. What do I mean by that?

Okay, so I debated and debated, and thought about it, and debated, and thought, and hesitated and thought again, and finally decided maybe I'll post my crazy little story on here for you to read. I need to start to get comfortable with my work being read by others, and you wonderful people get to be the first (apart from my sister). Don't you feel scared--er--I mean--special? :D

But because I am positively evil ;), I'm going to post it in two parts, and the first one shall be revealed tomorrow.

Now people, it's your turn. Have you ever experienced this type of character backlash? Have your characters ever changed on you (particularly if you abandoned them for some time)? What did you do?


Melissa said...

Hmm. I feel a bit anxious now as I haven't worked on my WIP in a really long time (school and life are in the way) and I am planning on doing a heavy week and a half of writing (on my summer semester break). I really hope my characters don't hate me.

You're not crazy for feeling their emotions. It's so taxing writing a scene for me because I feel all my characters emotions (the seven main ones anyway) and have all their thoughts in my head...ALL THE TIME. It never goes away. Sometimes I feel a bit like a crazy person. Maybe I am (and so are you = but then at least we can be crazy together).

I'm really excited to hear your story. And just because characters are dark, doesn't mean they are bad.

JustineDell said...

Nothing a little smacking around can't solve! ;-)

This only happens to me if I've written more than one story at a time. The character voices end up in the wrong books. I have since stopped writing more than one thing at a time. I'll switch back and forth, but I can't write 1,000 words to one and then turn around the same day and write 1,000 words to another.

My characters would be all over me for that!


Regina Quentin said...

That was a great idea (the short story) to get your character juices flowing again. Sounds very useful; I may have to borrow that idea soon because some of my characters have utterly abandoned me but I love them and can't let go quite yet.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to your excerpt! :]

I've experienced character backlash once. I "abandoned" one of my characters for a few weeks, and then when I returned to writing again, I found that they had changed from being calm and cool to hotheaded. And also much darker, as wth your's. But I'm glad they did. The story's since improved as well, at least in my opinion.

Jemi Fraser said...

My characters tend to change throughout the novel - hopefully become stronger and learn to make better choices :)

WritingNut said...

Melissa - Thanks for your thoughts. It's so great to know that I'm not alone! Having my own thoughts in my head is difficult enough! Thanks for the encouraging words :)

Justine - Wow, I know how it is to balance more than one story. I'm struggling with the one. It's amazing though, how our characters truly take on their own life forms.

Regina - By all means - it was somewhat quite therapeutic, even though it made me sad to see them that way. I know the feeling - I have a hard, hard time letting go too.

Amanda - Thanks! I'm so nervous about sharing it. I'm glad your characters changing worked out for you :)

Jemi - You're right - it's important for them to grow and evolve, just like us.

Jai Joshi said...

I know what you mean. Sometimes so much time passes that it's almost like the characters won't talk to you and you have to thrash it out with them. I like you're idea of writing the short story to get over the problem.

Thanks for joining my blog, I'm now a follower!


WritingNut said...

Jai - thanks for your comment and following me. My short story idea didn't exactly turn out the way I expected, but it's a start!

Jan Cline said...

Not yet, but I feel it coming on!

Stephanie Thornton said...

My current MC morphed on me mid-way through the story, but then I realized that wasn't a bad thing. She actually grows as the story progresses, kind of like Scarlet O'Hara. So I think it's a good thing.

Good luck with the new start!

WritingNut said...

Jan - Fight it! Fight it for as long as you can!

WritingNut said...

Stephanie - it's great that she changed for the better. Mine have given up on me - but I won't give up on them! Thank you for your kind wishes :)