Wow, The Process of Writing can really spin your head around. Are You Really Alone When You Write or is there some character in your midst, or in your mind – lurking in the shadows and waiting to introduce themselves to you and mess up your plot? Are you sure someone’s not looking over your shoulder right now, someone you weren’t expecting? It can happen.
At a certain point in time, I have discovered that the characters in my book, the ones I know about and create, and the ones who just show up unannounced, come alive and introduce themselves to me, eventually. That’s when things really get interesting, because I can be really opinionated, focused, and on a roll when I write. Then, when they think, I think, I know what my story is all about, they start to reveal themselves to me and try to take over.
I’ll never forget the first time this perplexing, phenom happened. I was working on a story called “Crabs In Abarrel ” ( 2005) my first children’s novel, and the story wasn’t about crabs either –at least not the kind you find in lakes and rivers. I was deep into planning the plot, and I tell you, I was not in the mood to be interrupted, in fact I was done, almost. I knew my premise, and I knew exactly what each character was about to do. Life did not look good in Abarrel, Paradesiae, and somebody was about to die.
Then, something strange happened, I didn’t expect. Some strange bird showed up from out of nowhere and started giving me orders and moving my plot and premise around until I no longer recognized my Tattle Tale or knew what to do with the story. She said, “I don’t think that’s going to work out well for you, Max or be very entertaining for your readers. No WOW factor, yet.”
I looked around, startled. “Why not ?” I asked, protesting and annoyed.
“Consider this — don’t preach morality, instead, show them what happens. Eventually, they’ll get it. My ways and my ideas are a birds eye view of what’s unique and what works in this place,” she chirped. Then she introduced herself. She said her name was Birdzelle Mahara, and she directed my attention to a location up in the Statutory, where she resided. When she was done explaining the opening scenes to me, I realized I wasn’t the narrator, Birdzelle Mahara was the narrator, so I stepped back.
Writers are never alone, but sometimes they feel like they are.