Friday, October 24, 2008

Talk, Or Else!

For a couple of months now I've been doing Holly Lisle's How To Think Sideways Course. I'm a few weeks behind the rest of the class, but that's okay, we're s'posed to be doing it at our own pace anyway. I've been okay with falling behind. Especially as some of the topics have forced growth in unexpected areas of my life, therefore necessitating time to work through that growth.

What I haven't been okay with is feeling like I don't know my characters. One of the exercises is about getting to know a little more about what motivates your main characters, both protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). Possibly even some of the sidekicks who get a fair bit of manuscript time as well. Radha...she was a cinch. Her Compelling Need, History, Present, Philosophy, and Three Descriptors were all there. She readily answered all the questions on those topics. So readily in fact that handwriting both questions and answers caused me difficulty keeping up.

When it came time for Sahil's turn, he clammed up completely. It took me over a week to get him to inform me in no uncertain terms, "The antagonist's actions made me need to leave the country, so you have to ask him first what the hell's going on. I only reacted to what he did." Then he turned his face to the wall and pouted. When I tried to ask him the questions that were all about him and had nothing to DO with the bad guy...he flashed his fangs at me then left. Just great! You'd think a vampire would WANT to steer the conversation around to his glorious self.

So. The bad guy. He was busy concentrating on whatever his nefarious plans are, oh and with looking for Sahil. I kept trying to get his attention, but it was like there was always interference on the line. I couldn't hear him, even when he tried to contact me, and I certainly couldn't see him.

After working through the digestive upset from the other week, I've spent the last ten days in a PMS-induced state of -- I suck at everything so I'm gonna bury myself in this chocolate, cheese, steak, sauerkraut and carbs smorgasbord. It didn't help that my birthday was less enjoyable than I hoped it would be, and despite rewriting a scene to be even better than it was before, I was still stuck at the same end point I had been prior, thanks to Sahil still not speaking to me.

So, after posting that snippet three days ago, I've ignored my characters completely. All of them. In every world. And ignored the writing class also. Instead I concentrated on doing things I wanted to do, in amongst stuffing my face, of course. I did cross stitch. I sewed a pillow. I stayed in my pyjamas. I ignored the dishes. I read in different genres than usual. I checked out the websites of authors I know. I went crosseyed checking out blogs and websites. The two things I have avoided that would give me pleasure is exercise or water. When I'm out walking or exercising, sometimes their voices come through loud and clear...same with having a shower or bath. And I didn't want to give them the opportunity to blurt something out that I couldn't help hearing.

Eventually, I figured out why all the difficulty. The main character from my novel Serenade was having a tantrum. HUGE hissy fit. And the best kind of juvenile teenage hissy fit, where they're SO pissed off at you they ignore you but make life living hell for everyone else around them, until the moment they're good and ready to deign to tell you why and then you WILL listen to them and only them no matter what else is going on in your life. {laughs} But because of the aforementioned reasons, I was busy ignoring them all as well and she wasn't getting through.

Other than her emotional crap giving off vibes that prevented the Bad Guy coming anywhere near me, I didn't notice her tanty at all. Ooooh did that make her mad. Not only had I put HER story away completely, I was now ignoring her too! This afternoon I'd run out of dishes, run out of things to read and couldn't justify buying anymore, run out of interest in cross stitch and still wasn't motivated to get out of my nightie. (God! Other than my minty fresh breath I stink, and have really bad bedhair but refuse to let them win!)

Midway through boredom eating of some chocolate almond clusters, someone, and I still don't know who, suggested that maybe now BadGuy or Sahil might be willing to talk to me. I dropped the clusters, thankfully as I really wasn't interested in eating them at all, grabbed my doodle pad and coloured pens and sat down at the table. I wrote out the first question, looked at Sahil and BadGuy...and Kh'Leesha gatecrashed the interview and made it ALLLL about her.

Apparently there's been something she's been wanting to tell me for a very long time, but until her hurt had healed enough and I had the right questions to ask, she didn't know how to tell me. Right when she could...I'd shut her and her world away and was playing very happily with the new kids in town. She's happy to give back the camera focus to Radha and Co. now that she's told me the REAL reason she didn't take her prized horse with her and why she pretended otherwise.

Once she was done interfering, Brian Jameson, formerly known as BadGuy happily answered his interview questions. Sahil still hasn't answered his. But like most people who think they're God's Gift--coughvampirescough--I reckon he's waiting till I'm most vulnerable to his charms, i.e. naked and in the shower. (As soon as I hit publish on this post I'm gonna create a new land speed record getting into the shower.) Perhaps he thinks if he's extra sweet by telling me his innermost secrets while the water relaxes me I won't make him answer Radha's questions.

Like the best underworld spy, I'm going to lead him on till he's told me everything and I've given him nothing but false promises in return. Then I'm gonna promptly stick him across that table from Radha and make him answer her questions. Mwuhahahaahaha.


Judith Leger said...

Excellent post, Kada!