Monday, April 4, 2011

About a Girl

A to Z BLOGFEST – Click “next blog” or “surprise me” button for more “A to Z”ers

C: Character

istockphoto_1026463-dancing-girl-silhouetteSix years ago, I met a girl. She just showed up one day, out of the blue. Her name was Thea, though I didn’t know it at the time. Neither did she, for that matter. She didn’t know much about herself or where she came from. Everything that made her tick, made her unique, made her a living person, was locked away in the subconscious mind. My subconscious, not hers. And she needed me to get it out.

She hounded me until I wrote her story, during which we worked as partners. Whenever a phrase or event or line of dialogue hit the page, she would remember. Details of events, character quirks of her supporting cast, images of her world, she helped me get it all right, and the product was a nice story of loss and courage, too long for a short story, too short for a novella.

I put the piece away and for the next two years gave little thought to Thea and her world as I started and scrapped four different novels. It wasn’t until I reluctantly pulled the story out for new friends that I heard her voice again. “More,” it said. It came from the mouths of my friends, as they thought the open ending left room for plenty more story, but the voice was Thea’s. I wasn’t finished telling her story, and she wasn’t going away until I had.

Three years and 150K words later, the first draft was complete. Long before I had finished, though, I realized this book is only the first part of her story. She’s going to be with me a long time. That’s okay, though: she’s become part of the family. Even my wife’s become attached; she named our new puppy Thea.

That may be why my “getting published” ambition has slacked off recently, and why I don’t rend my clothing at every rejection. It’s not about the publishing contract or the potential fame. It’s not even about me. It’s about giving voice, and life, to a world of people that would otherwise remain silent. Call me crazy if you want, but they’re real, in every way that matters.


  1. A very encouraging post. It takes as long as it takes.

  2. I loved this post!!! I loved the energy and the choice of the word you used!!

    It does take awhile at times. Just depends on how your character moves and if she's ready. I have several that are still waiting to be heard but don't know quite what to say.

  3. I'm with you on that, the characters feeling real. I get that, a lot of writers I talk too understand it. But non-writers call me crazy whenever I say my characters are real.

  4. Amen to the point, it is not about being published. You hit the nail on the head :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  5. The characters in my YA series were real. And as I wrote the first book, the others' voices clamoured to be heard, and I ended up writing several books.

  6. Oh, I resonate with this. I went to Scotland and Ireland in 2009 with my hubs on vacation and a voice came asking me to tell its story. It's taken till now for it to begin to gel. I so admire you.

  7. yes - they are persistent little buggars, aren't they? Keep on writing and honouring your intention...
    Jan Morrison

  8. It started like that for me too. One character walked into my head, took one look at what I was reading and said that he had a better story to tell.

    When I said ok, he brought in his friends. >_<

    Still, I love it.


  9. Just loved reading this, you are not alone. I think characters often find us when we least expect. Great C word, great character Thea must be :)

  10. Your enthusiasm is contagious. I love your attitute toward publishing also. My character/protagonist has become a part of me also and is reflected in my blog ( and in my everyday thoughts. I consider that healthy for a writer.

  11. I don't think you're crazy believing Thea is real. She's real to you, and only through the act of publishing your writing will she ever seem real to anyone else.