Quite often I get an idea about something to post here and then by the time I sit down to actually do it I find it has dribbled out of my sieve-like brain, driven away by whatever shiney object recently caught my attention. I remember a time when I had quite a good memory (I think!). I remember making very detailed lists about things. Probably about the same time I used to write out detailed character descriptions and never actually get around to writing their stories down.
I have been working hard recently and I know for a fact that tends to drive everything else out. e_w_h
is tremendously patient with me because, seriously, sometimes its like early onset Alzheimers (I know, not something to joke about). And the kids... well I think they realise that mummy is a bit of a ditz and if you want something (like food) you really have to keep reminding her until she delivers. Kind of like my own childhood. My mother is an artist and if she went into the studio, unless you could feed yourself, the order of the day was to badger her until she came out. When my father retired they nearly divorced on the first day when he went up to ask if she wanted a cup of tea and then sat there waiting for her to make it! Well, he only did that once.
OMG, I may be turning into my mother...
But seriously, there is this problem sometimes with marrying real life and creativity. In my case, I definitely do hear voices (not in an I see dead people or pass the happy pills kind of way though). Characters become very real and alive to me, especially when I'm as deeply stuck into a novel as I am at the moment. (Just passed the 25k mark last night btw.) It's that point where they start to take on a life of their own, when they start the "No, actually I think I'd going to do this instead". J. Michael Straczynski wrote about this some years ago (I think on the lurker's guide to Babylon 5) when he was going to kill of the mad Emperor and had a character & subsequent plot line all lined up to do it. When the time came, however, another character, a most unexpected character, stepped in instead and said "No, actually, this I my role." I remember reading this at the time and it all started to make sense. Since then it has happened to me a number of times. Especially with Moy Tura. Talk about a bunch of characters with minds of their own.
Okay, its very easy to talk about characters like they're demented little demons over whom you have no control, but this for me is the moment when writing really springs to life, where it really becomes fun, no matter how terrifying it is when you realise they've slipped the leash and are off doing their own thing. This is the point where your characters have become real to you, and hopefully to your reader. This is the moment where you know they so well that your subconscious mind starts making connections about their actions that your conscious mind (with its nice neat plot and charts of how the story "should" go) would never do. Its when they become real to you, the author. It's when they almost make you crash the car.
Yes, a number of times these connections have happened when I am driving and that, my friends, is bloody dangerous. I've also missed motorway exits, taken wrong turns and ended up at the supermarket when I was going to someone's house.
I had this discussion elsewhere recently and a couple of people told me this never happened because their characters were fictional and only existed on paper. I have to admit, I found that very sad. I don't really want to write where it means I'm putting name tags on little bodies and pushing them around a prepared board. I love it when they run away. Yes, its scary and I give out. Yes, it can put me off a story for weeks *cough cough Moy Tura cough cough* until I can work out how to adapt to what they've done, but it is the moment of magic for me.
And luckily it seems to be happening more and more.
(actually I don't think I rambled half as much as I expected. But then again, I haven't reread it yet).
OH I remembered - The Wrecker's Daughter, in Ocean Magazine is out.
D'oh! Yes, I'm so good at this promo business.