It’s always at the beginning and end of a project that I wonder why I ever thought I could be a writer. In the middle, I’m having fun. I’m in my groove, zinging along, letting the characters tell their story. And then I edit. And then I start putting the changes into the computer, and what’s this? I discover how a few characters have been acting up or acting out, as it were. How did I miss this? I thought I had them under control (ha!), but they’re misbehaving. They can get on soapboxes. They can rant and rave and repeat themselves. Actually, I love it when characters take over — until the end when I see how far they went. That’s when my conversation begins. Oh, will you be quiet! Oh, no, you’re not going to say that! What’s going on in that head of yours? You sound like a dimwit. Enough with the attitude! Oh, dear, what’s my sweet editor going to think about what’s going on here? I’m going to have some explaining to do. I also notice words and phrases that pop up like annoying gophers in that game, you know the one I mean, where the player holds a club and tries to whack them down again.
I need a club right now.
At times like this I think I need another year or two or ten to write this story the way I envision it. I think about writing a diary next time and leaving instructions in my will to place it on my chest as I’m being cremated. I think about sitting at my nook table and watching the birds dining at the feeder. Or some other worthwhile activity like walking back and forth in the mall with the pedometer I’ve tossed in my drawer. Or I could watch the leaves fall one-by-one from our oak tree. Only a million left.
Well, none of that’s going to happen. I must be brave. I must persist. I must endure.
Of course, all this means I’m no longer giving dictation. I didn’t want Shannon sitting with hands poised over the keyboard and wondering why her mother is spacing out and muttering under her breath (composing new dialogue, of course). But how would she know? She might think her mother needs an intervention or the men with straight-jackets.
That late January into February vacation to New Zealand and Australia is looking better all the time!
All this to say, I’m working on my own right now, disciplining two characters who got out of hand. They’ve been fighting each other, but I think I have them separated now. I’ve got one pinned to the mat, but the other is running circles around me, taunting. I’ll get to her soon.