Friday, November 9, 2007

Doing What They Want

It's always best not to mess with the characters in your head. They laugh at you if you try.

So far, I've got the premise for my new YA, I've got a pretty good handle on the main character and a shadowy idea of the other characters. Not bad, but I was having a hard time nailing down the setting. I was thinking (for reasons that will be revealed later) that it had to take place in a very cold and snowy location - the only problem being that I've always lived in California. So, in my front-brain, I'd decided that this was going to take place in Wisconsin or Minnesota. And then the movie stopped playing. I was getting no more information from my character, no more interesting little tidbits about why she was going to graduate at 17, why she changed her name, etc. Nothing. I started to wonder if the book wasn't going to work after all. I posted a setting question on the Verla Kay Blue Boards, and got wonderful feedback about writing locations that you know nothing about. My great writer friends convinced me that I was probably better off sticking to what I knew.

Last night, I started trying other locations on for size. East Coast? Please, my main character said.. (At least she was talking to me again.) Lake Tahoe? Nope, she said. Okay, I pleaded with her, how about forgetting the snow and setting it in the Bay Area? It gets cold here in the winter. Sometimes. Hmmm, she said. You're getting closer. Re energized, I started picturing different locations in San Francisco where I'd lived before. She seems to like one particular apartment in the Mission District, but we're negotiating between that and a house in the suburbs.

Now that I was doing what she wanted, she dumped a whole bunch of info on me while I was getting ready for bed. I'm so glad we're talking again.

On this date: In 1965, the Great Northeast Blackout.


Disco Mermaids said...

I love hearing how your brain works when it comes to your relationship with your characters.

Amazing stuff!

cynjay said...

That is SUCH a polite way of saying you think I'm absolutely nuts.

I appreciate the support though....