It's crowded in here.

Pat Davids here wishing you a happy April.

It is April already! Can you believe it? Normally, at this time of year we are praying for the temperatures to warm up and the flowers to start blooming. The weather this year has been unusual, to say the least.

And unusual is our blog topic for the month. We're going to be blogging about the most unusual item in our writing spaces. Right off the bat, I think it's probably unusual to have numerous invisible people clamoring to make you write down their words. Perhaps not unusual for writers, but certainly unusual for the general population.

We all have them. Those characters that aren't in our current work in progress. They whisper their secrets, they tease us with glimpses into their personalities, and they tempt us with a story that seems so much more exciting than the one that we are only halfway through writing.

Making them stay quiet long enough to actually finish a book can be challenging. I try not to give into them, but sometimes I am forced to jot down notes that will help me when I'm finally ready to tell their story. Let me share with you some of the unusual characters that are knocking on my brain because they want out.

Leah, the Amish school teacher who saw the man she loved marry her sister out of duty because his brother got her pregnant and then ran off. Now, the brother is back in town. Can Leah forgive him for the harm he caused so many people?

Jake, a contemporary cowboy convicted of cattle rustling, who is trying to rebuild his life in the community that openly distrusts his motives. It doesn't help that he is falling for the daughter of the judge who sent him to prison.

Roman,. A man whose badly injured arm has put an end to his dreams of becoming a professional ballplayer. Did he leave the Amish for the outside world? Maybe. He isn’t ready to tell me the whole story. He’s not done growing.

Buck, a man of the old West bent on revenge for the death of his murdered brother and family. I know Buck well. He’s grown from a boy to a man in a previous story, but he is patient. He’ll wait for his turn.

Kira, the Princess of a planet overrun with evil, who must find a way to save her people even if it means surrendering her very life to a reclusive but powerful wizard in order to gain his help.

Rhonda, a quiet Amish spinster who adores fishing. She wants to know who her love interest is going to be in her book. I have no idea, but he's in here somewhere.


What is a poor writer to do? How to pick and choose? What makes telling one story more imperative than the others?

Writers, you must remember one important thing. It is your brain. While your characters might think they are in control, they are only guests. They have no voice until you give them one. Hold them hostage until they are needed. Unless, of course, you are one of those lucky people who can work on more than one story at a time. I can’t.

Leah is going to have her story told in my next book. Everyone else gets beaten to the back of my brain where they must rumble around and grow into fully developed characters that are ready to come forward and reveal their tale.

These are some of the unusual characters that share my writing space. Tell me about the unusual characters that inhabit your writing space. How do you keep them in check? What’s your method for keeping them straight? Do you have trouble making them stay silent until you need them? If you have kept them quiet for a long, will they speak up when you need them? Come on, share. I know I’m not the only one that keeps unusual company inside my head.


Melissa Robbins said...

Too funny, Pat! Love your characters and such a wide mix of personalities.

My characters are relentless. The flyboys tempt me with their sweet and naughty words. I do bounce back and forth between two stories, but they're so different, it's easy to keep them separate.

Joan Vincent said...

Pat, you have one crowded room there! You'll never be bored. I have more trouble with my minor characters, no wait--those are the ones who are talkative. My problem is heroes and heroines who give me the silent treatment--as in "I don't like the direction you're taking the story so figure out which way I want it to go or you'll go nowhere." And the I is not me, the writer. Or they get talkative in an inspiring sort of way when I'm in a situation where I can't really listen.
What's really odd is that I visit with my characters from the Honour series. But that may be because I've had them as house, no head guests for almost twelve years and they are like family.
I would love to be book-bidextrous, you know like ambidextrous, and be able to work on more than one book at a time. But no, while I can multitask, I definitely cannot multi-book write.
One of them has just told me I am far too tired to be doing this now and she's right. Thanks for sharing your characters!

Pat Davids said...

Your flyboys sound like delicious company. Wait until book number 10. I promise you'll have trouble keeping them straight by then.

Pat Davids said...

I'm only bored if I chose to be, but like you,i can't multi-book. Wish I could.

Rox Delaney said...

I've had the same trouble with those unbidden voices, although right now I've managed to keep them quiet. There are three heroes clamoring for a cowboy series, and I've at least written down their names. Not sure where I put that slip of paper, though... :) Three other couples for a different line are waiting until I have a little free time to listen to them. The sister of the two current heroes is doing some whispering, too.

Like you, Pat, I'll stop and make a note. It seems to pacify them, at least for a while. And no multi-booking, although long ago I was able to.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Pat!

Right now I wish mine would talk to me. They are all playing hard to get and just giving me a tiny peek of who they will be now and then. I'll catch them soon though and then I'm never letting go.

Pat Davids said...

Hi Tammy,
It's great to see you. I know that someone with as much talent as you have won't have silent characters long. They'll start talking. Ask them questions until they do. Any kind of questions will work.

Why don't you like Willie Nelson's music?

What was the worst moment of the fifth grade for you?

Who did you wish would pass you a note back then?

What's the biggest mistake you've made to date?

Once our characters learn we're serious about getting to know them they will open up.

Pat Davids said...

Rox, thanks for stopping in to comment. I'd love to listen in on your whispering sisters. I'll be they have great secrets to share.

Penny Rader said...

Pat, you crack me up.

Joan, I'd love to be book-bidextrous, too.

Tammy, I'm with you. Mine aren't talking either. Hoping that improves once we're passed the major part of tax season. And once I get moved to our new house...where I will finally have my own space for reading, writing, etc. :D

Penny Rader said...

Forgot to add: Rox, I'm horrible about writing stuff down and then losing it. If I can't see it, I can't find it. Could be why I'm a clutter bug. Problem is when all the stuff I have out gets covered up by other stuff and disappears from sight and memory. Oy!

Melissa, I love your enthusiasm for writing. Hoping to rediscover mine.