Speaking for themselves

I finished Book 2 in my “Lisa Somerville” series of novels and then confidently expected to carry on with Book 3 and just write it. You know, just fill the page with wonderful, easy text that would be lifted from me as if by magic.

But Book 3 had other ideas. “You need to rest for a while,” it said, “You need to take a bit of time to find my new characters and get a feel for them, before you can write me.” And most obviously, “We are different voices, which may take a little time to emerge, so just keep listening.”

Obvious, really. Now that I come back to writing properly, I find myself editing with relish, to locate the slightly different voices of the characters and their varying vocabulary. My main character, whom I think I voice correctly though she rarely speaks, is staying with others who insist that they have their own way; and if I will only just be patient and listen to them, they will show me. Speaking for themselves, once again I am pleased to find myself listening to my characters and taking notes.

So I tread carefully, I listen – with no music on, at the moment – and I write and edit; and I am pleased to feel my characters relaxing and coming alive. Each of my characters has different motivations – Mr Semple is a bit taciturn, but good at heart; his son is not kind, but then, Ian is motivated by his own fears, so what are those? My MC simply has to navigate the best she can for the moment, until she can pluck up enough courage and resources to take her next steps.

And if I can trust the process of listening and flying with the story, and be available for it, then I can learn a great deal from it. Certainly, it has never felt truer for me, that my characters are teaching me a lot about life.

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