What a busy day yesterday. And I didn’t get a lick of writing done. No, really: I didn’t work on Couples Dance at all. No writing, no editing, no nothing. I let it smolder and enjoy the quiet that comes from just sitting on my hard drive with pictures and stories and programs that may or may not find use today.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t get anything done. Oh, please: far from it.
I blogged in the morning, which is par for the course. I did a blog on one of my dreams, which is something I talk about from time-to-time. Then I had other things to do, things that kept me busy until at least 1 PM. Then I’m online finally–
And there’s Annie. Hello, Annie!
We chatted for some time. She read my post–and loved it–then we spoke about Cassidy, whom she knows about. Oh, when it comes to Kerry, she knows everything. And we got into a discussion about Kerry, and Cassidy, and Annie. I did most of the talking, because I’m pretty mouthy when I want to be, and even though we’re only typing, you know what I mean.
So I’m going on about what I’m thinking about this Young Adult idea about taking our characters, characters we began working on over a year ago, and how I can transplant them into a world I created for my NaNo Novel, and this and that, and then . . .
Let me back up a moment. I wrote about the ideas I’ve had for this story last week. That’s how I am; something begins germinating and I can’t get it out of my head.
However, since Wednesday I’ve had this uneasy feeling. It’s as if something is telling me, “Are you sure you’re ready for this? Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Nothing I really wanted to talk about, but it was there enough that it was bugging the hell out of me.
. . . Then I’m speaking to Annie, telling her about my ideas, telling her about Kerry, and she says something–words that drilled me on the spot:
“You’re telling this story from Kerry’s PoV. You’re turning Annie into a sidekick.”
She was absolutely correct.
Let’s put this into context. My stories tend to revolve around female characters. It’s the way I am, the way I roll. Sure, I’ve written some very good male characters, but most of them tend to be female.
Annie is, however, someone completely different. While I think I know her, I don’t, because I didn’t create her. When I’ve written scenes for Kerry to interact with Annie, Annie’s creator has been on the other side, driving her personality. Because she does this, I can’t say I know what’s up with Annie. I have an idea in my head, but Annie’s creator–she enjoys keeping me hopping. She throws me curves; she gives me change ups. As Annie’s Annie like to say, “You never know what I’m going to do.”
As usual, she is very much right.
Annie isn’t my character, so when I’m thinking of “story”, I find I tend to marginalize her. I admitted as much to Annie’s creator, and said, “I can’t write her as I see her now; I’d turn her into a shade.” There in lay the big problem: the story is about them, Annie and Kerry, not Kerry and His Amazing Sorceress Girlfriend Who I Might End Up Naming Bella If I’m Not Careful. Without them together as partners, without it being their story, there is no story.
So last night I was out visiting friends. Coming home near midnight, with the night cloudy, the roads clear, and the miles ticking away, I tried to get into Annie’s head. I do that a lot when I’m trying to figure out a character, figure out where they’re at, where they’re going. Since this idea of getting a story around these two originated with putting them into the universe I created for my NaNo Novel, Her Demonic Majesty, I thought of a meeting between Annie and Jeannette, the main character from my NaNo Novel, being held in the later’s Murder Castle (no, really, that’s what it is) in Chicago.
It was short and sweet and came out like this:
Annie followed Jeannette into the library. ”Oh, very nice,” she said, her eyes moving to selected volumes inside the large room. ”Lots of books here.”
Jeannette closed the door. ”And there’s two more like this.” Not to mention that little room just off my bedroom. ”So what’s on your mind?”
Annie glanced to the large, soft chair to her left, letting her gaze linger there before ignoring it and returning her attention to Jeannette. ”I have a concern I’d like to discuss–”
Since the girl decided to stand, Jeannette felt it would show very poor manors to flop her ass down upon the sofa. ”Is this something that concerns Kerry? Maybe we should get him, too.”
A subtle change drew over Annie’s face. One moment she was a young tween witch asking a question, and the next . . . Jeannette saw the disapproval in her eyes, and she saw it too late. ”Kerry’s important to me,” she said in a firm, clipped tone, “and will remain that way for a very long time. There’s someone, though, who’s equally important–”
“Me.” Annie’s hard glare seized Jeannette, preventing her from looking away. ”I love him; I will always support him.” Her tone and manner was not that of preteen, but rather of a young woman who wouldn’t be marginalized. ”That doesn’t mean I’m his crutch. You’d do well to remember.”
Jeannette clucked her tongue, then screwed up her face in an attempt at being self effacing. I totally failed The Bechdel Test, didn’t I? she thought. Rather than apologize for her comment, Jeannette moved forward, deciding to re-focus the conversation. ”So, then: what’s your concern?”
I don’t know. It’s a good start, and it’s something that I can work with.
But I know, after talking yesterday, I need the real Annie to help me.
She wants to help; she wants to collaborate. We both know that without her input, the story won’t live as it should. And I would never want to create a story that feels half-assed.
Not feeling the way I feel about these characters.
So, new plan! Finish the edits on Couples Dance, and look for publishers, and . . . get note together to pass along to the Real Annie so she can get familiar with the world I’ve created. Then we’ll brain storm some scenes, get a feel for things–
Then what next? Writing?
You never know what tomorrow will bring, right?