"If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats."
Richard Bach(Author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions, and lots more)
These words from Mr. Bach confirmed for me that I wasn't the only writer who might be having conversations with the fictional characters in their brains.
Katrin's Chronicles is a middle grade novel I'm writing. Although it looked like it was finished, something kept telling me it wasn't finished. It was Katrin. She was talking back. I couldn't quite catch what she was saying but then it came out loud and clear. A gifted friend who has the ability to slice through to the heart of any scenario recommended a major edit. In the process, Katrin decided to raise her voice.
Katrin: Why can't I just be eleven going on twelve? Why do you keep trying to age me up?
Me: Well, people keep saing you're too smart for your age. You don't sound like you're eleven.
Katrin: I get that all the time. And now, even from you, too?
Me: I thought, maybe if I introduced you as a teen writing in a retrospective voice about when you were a child, it would explain why your vocabulary was a little advanced.
Katrin: I read alot, ok? Way above my grade level. Like high school level, even. What's wrong with that?
Me: Most kids your age aren't so...well, articulate.
Katrin: I'm not "most" kids, alright? I'm me. When I first introduced my self to you, was I thirteen? No, I was eleven. I told you the story when I was eleven. I lived the story when I was eleven. I'm still eleven, now going on twelve and that's just the way it is. Don't make me grow up so fast.
And then Katrin went on a rant.
Katrin: I am so tired of people always trying to tell me who I am or who I'm supposed to be. I'm not what people expect and they try and put me in a little acceptable box. Well, get over it. My father told me once that he expected me to be smart because I had three older siblings to observe and learn from. Well, I listened to him and I've been watching. You can pick up a lot when you're paying attention. So, yeah, maybe I don't sound like I'm eleven, but I am and if that scares you, then too bad. So there.
Me: Fine, I won't impose the 13 year old retrospective voice. It will be your eleven year old narrative self. Happy?
Katrin: You haven't done it yet. You're just talking about it.
Me: Tomorrow, ok? I'm going to bed. I'm exhausted.
Katrin: I'll keep bugging you...
Me: I know. I know.
Well, it's now in process. I cut the pages, though I saved them to another document. Just in case. But don't tell Katrin. She's gonna have to grow up sooner or later.
Have any of you had a character who talked back? Do tell...
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Over the next few days, this writer.blogue will be host to conversations with writers across the spectrum about what we do...why we do it, how we do it, how often and where. Sometimes we'll have conversations with the people who inhabit our creations, both fictional and non. Because when writers aren't writing, we're talking about writing (and not writing), which really is part of the writing process, now isn't it?