So I’m in the shower and my heroine’s ex-husband peeks around the shower curtain while I’m trying to rinse hair dye out of my hair. I know, awkward, right? “Not a good time, Brad.” I say. “I know,” he says. “It’s just that your portrayal of me in The Novel…it’s just not working for me. I’m going to the Caymans. See ya.”
I stood there for a minute, Miss Clairol Espresso hair colouring streaming down me in coffee coloured rivulets, stunned. “Well, thanks for the heads up, buddy.” I mumble. How could he do this to me? It would be like Tom Cruise announcing halfway through a film shoot that he’s a bit bored so he’s grabbing Katie & Suri and heading off for points unknown and forward the paycheque…the nerve!
Tom can do what he likes but Brad cannot. Or, can he? And more importantly, why shouldn’t I let him? Characters speak to writers all the time. Mine usually aren’t so bossy or so absolutely determined that they should go this way or that; I’m thinking that this is a very good thing.
I’m going to listen to Brad because I”m approaching this draft of The Novel in a whole new way. I’m not forcing things like I usually do. I’m letting things flow. If Brad, my main character’s pain-in-the-ass ex, wants to jet off to the Cayman Islands, I’m going to let him. I will follow him there in my mind, spy on him – see what kind of naughty things he’s up to. I hope he gets in loads and loads of trouble. At the very least, I hope he gets a sunburn because having Emma’s dog repossessed was really pretty low.
I don’t mind re-writing or tweaking because so far, the vibe has been amazingly good with this draft. Words are flowing, scenes are shaping, and when something doesn’t feel right, a very helpful character is there to tap me on the shoulder and whisper helpful advice. I just wish they wouldn’t do it when I’m in the shower.