Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Do Your Characters Talk To You?

They say as long as the voices don't tell you to do something heinous, like kill someone, you're okay. I'm not so sure about that, but I don't have to worry, because my characters don't speak to me. "What?" you shriek. "But you're a writer. What do you mean, they don't speak to you?" I know. I feel the same way.

Actually, mine speak to each other. It's like watching something on Netflix. They boot up, and sometimes it starts before I'm at the computer. That's a lot like real life because the family starts shows without me all the time. And then I sit there. I watch and listen, typing furiously as they do whatever it is they're doing, like fighting, or getting to know each other, or...well...other things I shouldn't probably watch but it's really fun and naughty.

Watching them is better than Netflix, because it has that theater feel to it, but I can hit rewind if I want. Sometimes I skip forward and write parts they're ready to rehearse. I don't have to write in order if they don't want to. Unfortunately, if they don't want to do their scenes, they don't have to. I don't know where they go when they hide, but it probably involves whiskey and Coke if it's Jake. I have to wait until they up and decide it's time to get stuff done. It can be frustrating the other way, because if they're on, then they are ON and they are not waiting. So type faster, writer lady. 

Someone asked once if I'd do a character interview for Chase Sanders, my hero from Spy Games: Trained for Seduction, and I was surprised. First, he's never spoken to me, so I don't even know if he knows who I am. Second, he's a spy boss, so I'm supposed to think he works for the IRS or something. I'm not supposed to know who he is, and he'll be pissed as hell if he thinks his cover is blown. We won't even talk about what he'd do to me if I asked about his relationship with Kate. He's a very private person. He can snipe stuff at over a mile away and you'd never see it coming. Do I really want to tempt the man? Really? 

Probably the only ones I could interview would be Kate Wells, Chase's woman, or Aaron James. Kate's new to the spy business so she has a hard time lying still. Aaron is an actor, and you haven't met him yet. He gives interviews all the time, but again, he's a fairly good liar, given the acting and he's Jake's brother. Kate would probably get her butt paddled for speaking with me, but since her ménage with Jake and Chase, she doesn't mind paddling. Jake would just lie and make stuff up, but he'd be charming as hell. Jake also wouldn't let me near Tia for an interview, seeing he's as protective as Chase about his woman. Charlotte...I wouldn't get the time of day with her. 

So I'm sad they don't talk to me. I'd like to do a character interview someday, damn it. Maybe I need to find more friendly characters. 

So my question is, do your characters talk to you? Am I the only crazy one who doesn't get a conversation?


Paloma Beck said...

I'm fascinated by how you describe the character voices in your head. I had never thought of it that way but you're right. There are times when they are actually talking to each other and I am listening in.
The times that really push me though are when the characters talk directly to me - sometimes I wake up from a dead sleep - because they so much want their story to be heard.
I'd love to hear what other authors say to your question.

Mia Downing said...

Well I'm jealous they yours actually talk to you! LOL I'd like to hear what others say, too. Only I do hear more, like what that character thinks as well, or I can feel how they feel. But like our books, they don't change quickly. I guess that's why I don't like rapid-fire POV changes when I read. It's too much for me to settle to. Thanks for stopping by, Paloma!

Max said...

Some of my characters are very bold. They mess with plot lines, go off on tangents, and throw tantrums unless I pick just the right word.

Others are much more quiet and subtle. A touch of fragrance, or just a feeling of this is not right and that is better.

You're probably lucky because not all characters have nice things to say. There's that angry hateful glare in Natalya's eyes, and the kind of dull "we've been over this before" look from Angel on a day when she'd rather be playing. I could interview my male characters, but they get anxious. I know too much about them, but they know me too. They'll push my buttons if it looks like an easy exit.

I think I may just be helping them get out. Out of my head. Into a bigger space. There's so much that I write which comes straight from them that sometimes it's hard to imagine I have any part in it. And other times we struggle together, piecing together bits because their memories are broken or they are just out of reach.

I lose as many stories as I write. I hate that. They hate that too. But if you don't reel in the fish on the line then it goes further downstream and you'll likely never see or hear from it again.

Mia Downing said...

I know how you feel on the losing the stories, Max! I have several that got away. It's very interesting to see how other authors' characters work for them. Thanks for sharing.

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