Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Teaser: Thoughts on Characters...Or Dreams...Or...

I woke up at 3:45 am and thought I was coming out of a dream. After a couple of minutes, it was clear that it wasn't a dream, it was a new character screaming at me. I mean, actually screaming because she was being chased through a forest. Okay, I thought, enough of this. I do not write fairy tales, so shut up and let me go back to sleep.

Except...she was being chased, she was in a forest, and it was not a fairy tale.

Her name is Gabriela, she is Italian, the forest is in New Jersey (?), and somehow a town called Whitesbog is involved.

The thing is...I'm not writing about a character named Gabriela, I know little to nothing about New Jersey ( except that one of the Mafioso Families is there), and I never heard of some place called Whitesbog...if such a place actually exists.

Obviously, this new character has a story she wants me to tell, but right now I have no idea what it is. Whitesbog, New Jersey?? Now I'm intrigued. I must do some research!

A dream? Or can a character actually come into your head, and demand that you tell her story? Even if you have absolutely NO idea what that story is?  Actually, I did have that happen with my very first novel. AJ woke me up one morning about the same time as Gabriela...uh oh, now I'm talking about HER as if she's really going to exist...anyway, AJ wanted her story told, too. But with AJ, I had some idea of what she wanted me to tell, and eventually her story became The Year of the Scream. 

What does Gabriela want? What is her story? Frankly, I can't imagine. Perhaps if I start researching some place called "Whitesbog" to see is there is such a place, I'll have a better idea. Why is she so insistent? I can't get her name out of my head, it's like it is plastered there. When something like that happens with me, I know nothing is going to matter until I get started on the story. Usually, I have at least a few thoughts about the direction it will take. Today? My mind is blank...all I can hear or think about is this little voice saying...Gabriela Gabriela Gabriela.

It's driving me crazy!!

Do you ever have a character wake you up and make demands on you? If so, do you always know WHY this character has shown up so unexpectedly? Please, share your thoughts...you might help me know what to do with this girl !

Until next time,
That's a wrap.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday's Meanderings: Teacher in Reverse: Daughter and Father

Today I went to the library, and while I was there, I saw something so touching I had to write about it.

I was in the YA stacks of the Children's Library, and I heard this soft voice saying, "No, Dad, that word is 'running.' You know the word 'run,' so just put the 'ing' to it."

Another soft voice, somewhat deeper: "He wa...was run..running too far.." "No, Dad, not 'too far,' 'too fast.' Try it again."

A silence. Then the deep voice said, "I don't know, honey. I don't think I'll ever learn again."

The sentence was spoken in bits and pieces, with pain evident in each word. I didn't want to be a snoop, but I guess I am. I had to know what was going on. I stepped quietly around a couple of bookcases, and stopped. In front of me was one of the round tables for small children, complete with the little chairs. On one chair, stooped over and barely sitting on the seat, was a tall, thin man with his face in his hands. Sitting next to him, on the table itself, sat a young girl about fourteen. Sweet face, dark curly hair, dark eyes full of tears. She sat with one slim hand on the man's shoulder.

"Dad, you will learn again. Look how far you've come this year. I won't let you stop learning until you can read all your own books again."

He raised his head and smiled at her. He got up slowly and painfully ( any adult who's ever sat in one of those kindergarten chairs knows you can't get up any other way, no matter how strong you are!), held out his hand to his daughter, and they carefully picked their way around the other tables to the check-out counter.

I checked out behind them, and as I walked out, I saw the father pointing at various trees, cars, a rabbit hopping by...and naming them all for his daughter. She was laughing and hugging him around the waist as I drove off.

Teacher in reverse: daughter teaching father all the things, and in the same loving, patient way, that father had once taught his daughter.

How wonderful. How remarkable. Courage, love, and patience all bound up in one beautiful, 14 year old package.

What remarkable thing have you seen lately?

Until next time,
That's a wrap.