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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Author being persecuted by characters

After a bunch of computer problems and a stint at a university where I help out temporarily, I have more time again for my WIP. This is the third and last part of my Family Portrait series.
       When I wrote Love of a Stonemason, which became Book Two, I never intended for it to be a series. It just kind of happened. The characters I created became so much part of my “real” life that they kept bugging me to go on.
“Excuse me,” Karla kept saying. “I didn’t just materialize as an adult, like Athena jumping fully developed out of Zeus’s head. “I have a past, a childhood and important things happened there that explain my development. Aren’t you going to write about that? And what about my aunt, Anna? And Jonas, my almost-father and teacher? And my painting career? Come on, you can’t just ignore us.”
So, I listened and wrote An Uncommon Family, which became Part One. Writing backwards was a challenge because I had to adjust what happens in that book to what was happening in Book Two, Love of a Stonemason. I managed to write and publish it, thinking I was done and could go on to an entirely new subject and novel.
The minute I started, Andreas kept poking me in the back. “Hey, are you going to leave us high and dry? We have a life now and it didn’t just stop. I mean you didn’t kill us, did you? Are you going to keep us locked in a drawer with the rest of your unfinished manuscripts or are you going to give us a future or at least a present?”
“Be quiet,” I said. “I may come back to you, but now I want to write a thriller, perhaps with a touch of romance.”
“Thanks a lot.” Andreas turned aside and slapped the table top with his hand. He had always had a temper. He glared at me. “What about . . . .” And he gave me a whole list of adventures he was going to engage in. “Now, you can either get off your lazy butt and write it down or I’ll go find another author. Just don’t come back whining and complaining when I’m on the bestseller list of—”
“All right, all right, stop nagging me,” I shouted. “I’ll think about it.”
“Hey, we’re still here, too,” another male voice said. “Laura and I have grown up and we want some adventures as well. Have you forgotten us?” Handsome Tonio with his finely chiseled features and silky dark hair gave me a reproachful look.
“I want a boyfriend,” Laura, his older sister with the verdigris green eyes she inherited from her father, said with a pout. “I saw this handsome—”
“I got the point,” I said, rolling my eyes. “One more book, that’s it and then you’re on your own.”
“Great,” Karla said. “I want to paint and also work at—”
“Would you please all shut up?” I screamed. “I agreed to a third book, but I am the one who decides what’s going to happen. Understood?”
“Okay, fair enough,” Andreas said. “Just wanted to give you some ideas.”
“I have plenty of ideas, thank you very much. Now would all four of you leave me alone? Right now, I have some grocery shopping to do.”
“Great,” Laura exclaimed. “We need a lot of espresso, a bottle of Merlot, and don’t forget the fresh tomatoes for—”
I grabbed my grocery bag and bounded out the door, trying to drown out the chuckling sounds behind me.
Fellow authors: Do you also get persecuted by the characters you create?

Just found this related blog post by my author friend Lindsay Edmunds about the Muse and the characters moving on to a different author if the present one doesn't respect them!