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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"What if..."

If you're reading this blog and you're not a writer, you may scratch your head and think I've gone over the edge. Rest assured, this is the way writers think. My husband repeatedly reminds me that my characters "aren't real", but he doesn't realize they are to me. When writers are putting a story together, they step into the skin of their character and try to think like the character thinks.

I love brainstorming with my critique partners. They’ll toss out a story idea and I’ll grab it and run with it and play the “what if” game. It’s such fun to take someone else’s idea and throw in some twists and turns, and think of ways to complicate the lives of the characters. For some reason, however, I’ve always had a hard time brainstorming my own ideas. So it was with a bit of consternation that I had a “conversation” yesterday with one of my own characters. I’m wrapping up the final chapter of this book, and suddenly my main character, Everett, decides to offer some “what if” suggestions.

Everett: Hey, what if you gave me a reason to leave Willow Creek?

Me: That’s not included in my chapter x chapter synopsis.

Everett: But what if there was a distinct possibility that I might leave? How do you think that would affect Tillie?

Me: I don’t know, Everett. Now get back on the page where you belong.

Everett: I know I tried to make Tillie see how she’d be better off with Ben, but it’s a lot tougher than I thought it would be, watching the two of them together.

Me: Well, you knew it wasn’t going to be easy. This was your decision.

Everett: But if I had a reason to leave, I wouldn’t have to watch them fall in love with each other.

Me: That’s not included in my chapter x chapter synopsis.

Everett: Well, how would you feel if someone you loved fell in love with someone else? Wouldn’t that make you want to run away?

Me: That’s not included in my chapter x chapter synopsis.

Everett: You know I never planned to stay in Willow Creek anyway. What if there was a way I could return to Baltimore?

Me: Everett!! You’re not listening. The chapter x chapter synopsis I sent to my editor does not include you leaving Willow Creek.

Everett: But what are you going to do about this letter?

Me: What letter?

Everett: The letter I received from Grandfather’s attorney.

Me: Huh?

Everett: This job offer in Baltimore is pretty tempting.

Me: What are you talking about? What job offer?

Everett: Great opportunity, great pay, and I could sit behind closed doors and nobody would ever stare at me again.

Me: Everett, I don’t like the sound of this. Do you realize what you’re suggesting? I’m almost finished with this story. In order to include this letter you’re talking about, I’d have to go back to earlier chapters and weave in this new thread.

Everett: So why are you just sitting there? Get busy.

Me: Let me see that letter.

Everett: You have to write the letter.

Me: You know if you were going to make this suggestion, it might have been nice if you’d done so earlier.

Everett: Hey, what do you want from me? (He tosses out his uplifted palms and shrugs) I could take the stage to Dubuque and board the eastbound train there.

Me: Now just wait a minute. I’m the author. You’re supposed to do what I say.

Everett: (tucking the letter into his vest pocket) I’m off to talk to my father about this letter. I need his advice.

Me: And there he goes, and I must hasten after him, for I am the author….I think.

Thanks for letting me share my character, and my heart.


Kathy Kovach... said...

Hmm...How can I relate to the chapter by chapter synopsis? That was priceless! I had difficulty keeping my hero and heroine apart in Merely Players (now available in the 3-in-1 Florida weddings )They dated in high school and hadn't seen each other for 10 years. They were like those magnetic kissing dolls, but I kept having to remind Bethany that she was angry with Brick. Characters! You can't live with 'em and you can't write without 'em!

Lynne Wells Walding, Christian Author said...

Loved this post, Connie! Everette sounds like a typical character. Always wanting their own way! Looking forward to reading more of your "stuff".