Last November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month against my better judgement. My sister D also wrote a novel. We talked and encouraged each other, and it was great to have a cheering squad.
One thing that D encountered during NaNoWriMo is something I’ve never not experienced while writing fiction. She said it was the first time that her characters just would not leave her alone in peace for one blessed moment of the day! She couldn’t stop thinking about them.
Over the past few days, I’ve dipped my toe several times into a plot abandoned several years ago. I reread what I’d already written, drew some character webs to get organized and considered my options. Today, I dove in and wrote several pages of these people’s lives.
These characters who emerged when I was in high school should have been done. I thought they were spent, not as excited as I had originally thought. Like a promising introduction at a party, the relationship flared for a moment, but by the end of the evening it was burnt out.
Apparently not. Suddenly, Tabby and Claire are like these two little flies buzzing around my head. I see a jacket and think, “Claire would wear that.” I watch a movie and think, “Tabby would say that.”
They are driving me up a wall! It’s been awhile since I’ve written fiction. But I can’t not write this story. Even if it fizzles out in another day or two, that’s okay. At least I won’t have ignored these poor characters who, at the moment, are in a heap of trouble.
Besides, if I didn’t write the story of Tabby and Claire and the cat Mariella, who would tell their story? Who would they bother and annoy with their oddities and quirks? Who would listen to them rant and complain and celebrate? Who would decorate their apartments, find them jobs, and give them food allergies, hobbies and pets? Most of all, who would get them all in the same room? Who would play hostess to these characters?
I don’t write because I want to write. I write because I have to write. If I didn’t, I would soon go insane with all the characters bothering me to have their stories told.