When Characters Speak Up

What happens when a character, who, when you originally wrote her, was one of the more elusive of the set, suddenly decides to speak up and demand her own story?  You try to tell her to stop, but end up giving in and allowed her to take over her own novella.  At least, this is how this reasoning goes when a little story-bug gets into your brain and won’t let go.

Not that I’m complaining.  Story-bugs are the best.  Really.  There’s passion, and imagination, and fire there.  It means that a character has a voice that demands to be heard, and usually, if you let yourself follow the story-bug, something interesting comes out of it.

Now, I’ll admit, it isn’t always a full-blown story.  I’ve had story-bugs think they are full novels but end up realizing they are just fabulous sub-plots to another tale.  They end up being important points in the over-all reach of the story in ways I didn’t expect.

The bunny looks so cute and concerned....: Then you have story-bugs that started out only as a sub-plot idea that somehow blooms into a bigger one.  That’s where I am currently.  Solene White, a character in my novel Turned/Red I wrote about earlier (here) was only ever supposed to be a sub-plot.  Having based her off of Snow White and a few well-talked about monarchs in history, I didn’t feel like I wanted to re-hash an over-told tale.  I was wrong.  Apparently.

In the original plotting of the story-arcs, she never received her own.  The “Cinderella” character would get one, the “Sleeping Beauty” character would get one, down the line even a “Dorothy” and “Tinkerbell” character would get one… but not “Snow White.”  That, however, was back when I was taking the story in a very fairy-tale re-telling route, before it turned on its head, pulled from the War of the Roses and my dystopian love and jumped the curve.  Happily.

But now Solene isn’t content to be in Red’s story.  She wants her own.  So does Mal.  So does Red’s mother.  These women have stories they want to tell.  Novellas.  Not fully grown tales, but mini-ones.  And while I spent this week trying, and failing, to focus efforts purely on my paranormal fantasy project, they were begging me to give.

So I did.  Novellas for everyone it seems.

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Let’s Be Real: Balancing It All

I sat down this week to write up a blog post and you know what happened?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  I stared at the wall for a while, binged This Is Us (which I’m in love with, and it’s not even something I usually watch on TV), and found myself all over my local zoo’s website (I love penguins for some reason).  Usually, this ADD sort of thinking produces something, but not this week.  Could it be burn out from an amazing production week/run of a performance?  Could it be I’m using it all up in drafting my Wonder Woman outfit for con?  Or because I hit this weird, but good-weird spot in my recent novel and I’m busy working it out?  Or maybe it is all of those things.

Maybe I needed to talk about how to balance being an indy (independent) writer, performer, seamstress, pin up girl, AND working a regular-if-only-it-was-full-time job.  That’s the reality a lot of us face as we start out trying to carve a little spot for ourselves.  So few of us get to sit down and write, or perform, full-time.  I’d love to do both.  That’s my goal, a completely reach-able with LOTS of hard work goal, but one filled with the ever persistent balance problem.  I have to feed myself, therefore, I had to make money by working.  I’m committed to events, which require my sewing skills.  I have to make sure my soul hasn’t gone crazy, so I work on finding the next fabulous show to perform in.  It’s a lot.  On top of the need to write down these stories bubbling in my head.  It’s not wonder people thing us, artists are a little off-beat.

As spring rolls around, I realize that I will have less and less time to write.  It’ll be about chiseling moments of time in order to do so… and to be honest, that’s difficult for me.  I get ideas, need to try them out, and end up side-tracked.  It’s the ENFP life at its purest.  It’s brilliant but I have to remember to keep at it.

I, also, have to remember, that I’m not failing if I’m not writing every day.  Not if I’m composing in my head, thinking about it, then I’m not failing.  And yes, I repeat that to myself every time I beat myself up over it… and I do it every time.  I remind myself that everyone works differently.  Some have to write every day.  Some don’t.  Some binge.  Some trickle.  Some plan chapters a week/word count a week.  Some don’t.

But balance, that’s what I need.  I need to make sure I am feeding all of my artistic outlets.  And take the time to regenerate those juices.  It also means, to me, giving in to my artistic impulses when they occur.  And that just because it isn’t happening at that moment, or even a day or two done the road, doesn’t mean it won’t suddenly happen again.

Patience.  It’s a virtue, or something.  I’m not very good at it, but I’m trying.

And I pose this question: how do you balance it all?  I’d love to swap tips, stories, etc.  You an always learn from someone else.  Always.

A Day of Red

I am Red
A woman forged
Through red flames
A blazing inferno of a phoenix
Always rising again

I am Red
A woman embracing
A gentle heart
Wrapping warmth and love
In strong arms

I am Red
A woman thinking
In numbers and facts
Changing the science game
With brilliant minds

I am Red
A woman of spirit
Daughter, Sister, Mother, Wife
Hand in hand
Sirens singing a song
A human song

I am Red

I am Woman.

Today is Women’s Day, and around the global women, and men, are standing up to support the other-worldly contributions that women play in everyday life, let alone life changing and altering fields.  We are standing up to be counted, and saying that we cannot keep playing into history’s hands, repeating it, and pushing women down below their male counterparts.

As a struggling female writer, (and artist, as I am in dress rehearsals for a show going up this weekend, eep!) I am reminded how far we have come (I had the great Tamora Pierce in my library as a kid, and now look how many of us populate the shelves?!), and how far we have yet to go.  Until all boys pick up a book led by a female character and simply shrug, putting more stock in the story, not the protagonist, we have to keep pushing, and… fighting.

And this doesn’t just apply to women, though today is focused on us.  It applies to POC and LGBT+ characters, of which many ARE women.

Equal footing.  THAT’S humanity.  And as artists, is that not our call?  To reflect humanity?  Or pieces of humanity as accurately as possible (and I’m not talking about excluding fantasy, of which human nature is often THE central force)?