Saturday, October 07, 2006

When they stop talking

Do your characters ever stop talking to you? Not because you don’t know where they are going, but because they suddenly become as elusive as trying to capture the breeze?

I have a scene I’m working on with MG that started forming in my mind way before I even finished DH. It’s played through my imagination a thousand times, I’ve written snippets of it in random places in my notes, (Yes, I have a word document named ‘notes’) and I have been looking forward to actually writing the scene for almost a year. Now it is finally time and my characters are standing around the scene acting like rusty marionettes.

Maybe the scene has been with me so long that the characters have out grown it, or maybe I’ve lost contact with them. Is it possible that long term planning could be unhealthy? In the last year, since I came up with the idea for this series, my brain has been slipping pieces together so that I have a rough idea what will happen for at least five books, (which means it will be really sad if I can’t sell DH and the rest of the ideas have to be mulched to make room and fertile ground for a new story that might sell.) But, maybe being so far ahead of myself is tearing my characters in two. After all, from their perspective, I’m making them regress because at the point my brain is currently playing with the story they have grown a lot, but I’m way back near the beginning in writing it. It could be that I just need to be writing faster. (Well, actually, I know that is true. I should be setting a much higher min daily word count for myself.) I guess I should also consider the fact that I’ve hit a personal slump and just need to push through it and get back into the swing of things.

Does anyone else ever have this problem? What do you do when it happens? If you’re writing a series, how far ahead do you find yourself planning? How do you reconnect with characters when they are sitting around staring at you blank-eyed?

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