Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Hey there. Carolyne Aarsen here. The past few days I've been staring at a blank computer screen. I'm starting a new book. When that happens, putting those first few words on the screen is a daunting task. I stare at it and think, there's nothing here! I have nothing to say! I don't know these people I'm going to be spending the next 290 pages with and they don't know me and right about now they don't even want to show themselves.They're sitting in their room drinking coffee and reading the paper and telling me to leave them alone because, let's face it, I'm going to make them uncomfortable and probably a bit unhappy. I'm going to make them face down their demons and make choices they don't want to make. So, I guess I can't blame them for not making eye contact and ignoring me. Why wouldn't they sooner eat doughnuts and watch reality television?
It's always like this when I start out. Always the uncooperative characters and the story that just won't gel. But I've learned to accept this as part of the process and my husband has learned to ignore the scriptural sighs (too deep for words) that emanate from the office after I've written Chapter One on that blank computer screen. Because sooner or later my characters know they can run, but they can't hide. I hunt them down and step by by agonizing step I drag them onto the page and into their story. I prod and push and analyze and slowly, sooner or later the doughnuts get put away, the coffee cup rinsed out and they square their shoulders and step onto the page.
There will be moments they will rebel. Go their own way. Fight me on some of the issues I put in front of them. But eventually we find a way to co-operate because I won't give up until they've realized their journey. They might not appreciate it, but I know they'll thank me for it by the end of the story. Maybe even share their doughnuts with me.