In my massive rewrite of The Narrator, I’ve just passed the midpoint. I was pretty worried about the scene, and kept putting it off and putting it off. But when I finally dove in, it was actually pretty fun.
And I owe it all to Calder #2.
There are two Calders in Narrator: the original, and the one the Narrator tried to make by changing his backstory. At the midpoint, the second Calder manifests (because of an enchanted forest) and the two Calders have a bit of a chat.
And that second Calder was a treat to “work with.” He was very talkative and came up with some great stuff, all without really trying.
(I know that to non-writers this kind of talk sounds crazy, but characters usually take on a life of their own. They can be complete chatterboxes, like Calder #2, or they can refuse to give up any information on themselves and frustrate the crap out of you.)
So this scene was going better than I expected, but still with a lot of false starts and backtracking. And suddenly Calder #2 was dragging his feet, and refusing to cooperate, and giving me a really crappy performance — until I put back some paragraphs I had removed. Once they were back in place, he was more than happy to talk again.
Things slowed down again as we neared the end of the scene, because Calder #2 knew this was going to be his only scene, and he was reluctant to “leave.” I could tell he was trying to stretch out his time. I felt bad for him, too, since he was (for the most part) so great to work with. But alas, I don’t think I’ll be able to justify bringing him back.
Even if it would be fun.
Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.