Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Where do I go from here?

I am caught in the middle of the novel I am trying to write - and trying to fight my way out. I am not sure why I started it. Writing is, damn it all, supposed to be the thing I do by choice. Sometimes I hate it. I hate it when the characters refuse to do as I want or the plot insists on going in a direction I do not want it to take. Who is writing this thing - the characters, the plot or me?
I actually left it strictly alone to sulk by itself on Sunday. I went and did other things. I ignored it. All writers should have a day off now and then. It is good for their characters to know that they are not always available.
Yesterday I crept in cautiously and they pounced again. I need to rethink. They are very determined.
A friend of mine has just expressed surprise that I do not listen to radio. I grew up without it - and without television too. I watch very little of the latter as well. Why bother when you have a head full of characters telling you what to do? Does this make writers insane - or fortunate?


Donna Hosie said...

Let your characters go the way they want.

To someone who doesn't write, this advice is ridiculous - surely the writer is in charge?

No, actually. The writer is merely the conduit between the character and the page.

Let your characters go the way they want - they may surprise you!

Old Kitty said...


Insane or fortunate? Maybe. All I know is that it makes writers very, very unique!


Take care

catdownunder said...

Donna, they do surprise me - frequently and scarily.
And, being unique is not always comfortable...but then, who said writing was supposed to be about being in control or being comfortable?

KarenG said...

I gave up tv about 6 months ago, never listen to radio, don't get the newspaper and don't even read news stories on the internet anymore. I can't believe how freeing it is. It's such a fantastic way to simplify one's life. I do still go to movies though.

Melinda Szymanik said...

People talking in your head may be something you should worry about!?

My characters often come up with better story lines then I do. If you have credible characters they will act appropriately for them which may no longer be what you intially envisioned. If you've created a well rounded character let them run the show for a while...relax and enjoy the ride

catdownunder said...

I suspect you are right Melinda - so far it is only the characters talking among themselves and ignoring my wishes. I will just let them get on with it - for the moment!

Rachel Fenton said...

When your characters start to think and act for themselves that's when you have done your job! You have made them real. Let them live, write and keep the bits that serve your novel and enjoy the show!

I haven't had telly for about five years and I stopped listening radio when we moved to NZ. I love the silence - or rather, the alternative noise - neighbours chatting, birds, the curtains blowing in the breeze. I don't wear a watch and I only eat when I'm hungry. All makes for a much happier writer. Madness isn't voices in your head - it's not listening to your own voice as well!

It is enough to drive you to despair when you've spent months planning a journey for your characters and they refuse to even get on the bus but, as Donna says, a writer is only the conduit.

catdownunder said...

Oh yes, when I was writing something today one of my characters said something that I think I had been completely unaware of until that point.

Rachel Fenton said...

Forgot to mention - I am always hungry!

Cool - This is the part of writing that I most love - wonderful that you are getting to have these character talks!

catdownunder said...

I want to murder them at times Rachel!

Holly said...

Split the story for the moment. Let the characters do their thing and see if it works out. Then write it the way that you envisioned.

Chances are once they are completely worn out from actually having to perform they might listen to reason and what you will end with is something in the middle.