The Joy of a Mismanaged Day – My Characters Take Charge

Ah, my plan was simple, so simple!

As B is coming to visit for a week, I’m to clean the place.  Make it look inhabitable yet not an extravagant, overindulgent mess.  Which is the kind of mess that naturally comes about anywhere I tread.  I also planned to send out three resumes (at least.)

Yowza!  Suffice it to say, dear reader:  I didn’t.  Yes, dishes were done, counters were wiped, clothes were folded, suitcases were moved aside.  Yes.  But was a resume opened?  (Let’s let this stay a rhetorical question.)  Very bad.

But in the meantime something awesome’s  gone and happened.  🙂

Two days ago an amazing thing had happened in my young book.  A character had appeared out of thin air; had written himself on my page.  Replete with his own name and motivations and even his appearance–generally the last thing I look for in a character.  An antagonist.  I wouldn’t call him a villain although I could see someone (such as my protagonists both) seeing him that way.  A nemesis, yes, most assuredly.  But I have to tell you honestly, I really feel for the d00d.

Anyway, that was cool enough.  The thing is, he elbowed his way into my story rather roughly and expertly, and in his wake utterly threw everything into the air.  You see, in doing what he’s done, he’s added a dark edge to my story that just wasn’t there before.  I’d been worried earlier, I’ll grant you, that the story was too light, too fluffy or easy.  No more.

Now, to the contrary, I see I’ll have to renegotiate my entire style (I guess the proper term is “voice”) in order to ensure flow to the storytelling from start to finish.  He’s going to require major revisions in my text, something I’m a-okay with and which I’ve already begun with a harsh and unforgiving pen.  (Or in this case copy and delete keys.)

What I love also is how he entered and took charge, and BOOM not only were my protagonists in peril, facing an unexpected danger, but I also, as a voyeur (or writer) found myself, like a reader, responding with a gasp and an “OMG, what happens now?” — which is my favourite part of any good story.  The only thing is, I’m not a reader in this case, not now.  I can’t just turn the next page.

So all of that day I just marveled at the amazing turn of events and at the cliffhanger, reveling in it like a juicy mango.  I tried not to actually think about what on earth I’d write next, or I’d get nervous.  The next day I worked on revisions and editing.  I still didn’t know “what happens next.”  I assumed the answer would come in due course.

I walked the dog and when, at the end, I’d not had any thoughts more useful than “don’t pee on the person please” and “this is quite a lot of poop today,” I thought, “oh, come on, where’s my requisite inspiration for the day?”  It was out walking the dog that this character first gelled–although I can definitely see how the ingredients were percolating without my knowledge beforehand.

And then today, thinking I’d just revise a bit, BOOM, the next piece of action moved forward because my protagonist (after going into shock for a day) reacted.  And whoah did he react, and utterly in character, too.  

I love writing.  It’s official.

I’ve left them at another cliffhanger.  I do know one piece of information my protagonist needs, but I have no idea how he’ll find out, what significance it’ll have, and why it’s even necessary.  But I have faith in him  and in my antagonist.  And I love them.

And I love writing.  I’m going to happy dance the day away.  And if I can take the trouble, I might also clean up the living room.  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
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2 Responses to The Joy of a Mismanaged Day – My Characters Take Charge

  1. rahmama says:

    I love this posting! I know what you mean about characters with a mind of their own. I have a few of those too.

    Can’t wait to read more of your blog.

  2. sputnitsa says:

    Oh, thank you so much! And I must admit to have already succumbed to curiosity (perhaps your Muse knows something of this trait) and am rambling about now on your blog too. I love it!

    Thanks again, do come back, and I look forward to reading more of yours. 🙂

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