What happens when you don't listen to your characters?
They keep you up at night.
I roll over feigning sleep but that doesn’t stop him.
“Please… I only need a few minutes. I promise I’ll let you come back to bed-and pretend to sleep. Get your notebook and meet me in your office. And please, try not to wake your husband!”
It was Marc with his irresistible charm, offbeat sense of humor and incredibly sexy accent. I know Marc well…intimately in fact; he’s my primary male character in my romantic series, Fall Again. He knows I’m making final edits in the first novel Beginnings and feels it necessary to give me his input and refuses to leave. The digital clock display shines 2:33AM.
Thankfully, Marc hasn’t asked me to bring the laptop which means I might get back to bed at a reasonable hour. The last time he insisted I bring the laptop, I didn’t crawl back into bed until sunrise.
While Marc does not exist in the real world, he’s very real in my imagination, just like all of my other characters. In the past few weeks several have come to me with concerns; Gary made me aware of a discrepancy in my timeline. Lauren had a problem with her wardrobe in one scene, fearing that I made her look desperate. But at least they had the courtesy to make me aware of these issues during reasonable hours. Only Marc sees the need to wake me in the early morning hours.
I tighten my robe, settle in at my desk and open my notebook as I wait for Marc to explain the reason for his unexpected early morning appearance.
“You need to revisit the opening scene on Sunset Boulevard.”
I’ve written and rewritten that scene more times than I can count! I want to slam my notebook shut, but I don’t. Truth be told, I’ve never been completely happy with this pivotal scene.
Marc sees that he has my complete attention, and eloquently presents his case.
While pleased with my last revision, he feels the scene can be stronger and wants me to dig deeper emotionally. He asks me to think about the scene and consider all the elements. He reminds me that not only has there been a long passage of time in addition to shock and surprise, but there’s also a great deal of pain. “Pain. You’re ignoring the pain that Lauren and I have been living with for years!”
And in the wee hours of the morning, Marc makes sense and I find myself making notes that will be incorporated into my manuscript during my next writing sessions when I’m fully awake. Marc as usual, is right.
Marc’s sexy voice makes me smile. “Keep me honest and I’ll let you sleep. I promise! Goodnight.”
And he’s gone.
I close my notebook and make my way back down the dark hallway to bed for what I hope will be a few hours of restful sleep.
I suppose I shouldn’t expect anything less from any of my characters. I’ve endowed every one of them with integrity. I will respect and listen to them no matter the time, because I know they’re usually right.