Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hard To Let Go!



A strange thing happened to me some months ago. I experienced a waking dream, a vision of sorts. In this dream/vision I saw a lovely young woman in a beautiful blue silk gown dancing at a ball. I felt her...for a split second in this strangest of waking dreams I was her. I had the oddest feeling I was glimpsing a fragment of my own distant past through the haze of time. Her name was whispered in my ear. I felt the need to write her story and yet I hadn't a clue what her story was. Only that glimpse.




I put pen to paper and slowly words began to fill a page and then another and another. Other characters in this young woman’s story began to take shape. The story begins with a tragedy in her young life. A close and loving relationship with her father is revealed and the loving relationship between her parents. There is animosity between her father and her paternal grandfather. Her grandfather’s distain and unmitigated rudeness towards her mother unfolds. Quietly standing in the background is her grandmother. The woman married to this rude incorrigible man. She is a woman of quiet grace and dignity who unconsciously commands the attention of all when she enters a room. Despite the many trials and tribulations in her life, she maintains integrity of spirit unlike her husband.


About five thousand words into the story the grandmother emerges and dominates. For some reason her story unfolds before my eyes with ease. For a while I was oblivious to the fact this story was veering away from my original MC.  Her story began to fade as I unconciously moved in a new direction.  When I realized I was losing my beloved Main Character I put the story aside in frustration.

Last week it occurred to me maybe this story is indeed about the grandmother. Maybe I should stop resisting and scrap the first couple thousand words. Did you ever have a character in your head and have her opt out on you?

33 comments:

niamh said...

I think this girl acted as your guide ( to the character of her grandmother,) maybe she's not opting out, maybe, for now.. her work is done!
Sounds like your being really swept into a wonderful story - enjoy!

Brigid said...

Ann, I sometimes write a huge amount and then when I read back, scrap the original idea when some other character leads me elsewhere. I think you should follow your instincts and enjoy where the story leads you. Happy writing!

Ellen Brickley said...

Oh, hell, yes.

My first novel (currently sitting idle while I get enough distance from it to edit it) was supposed to be about a girl who starts trying to find her father's birth parents after he dies.

The heroine is now her father's birth mother. Her father - who, like Marley, is dead to begin with - is now a more major character than my original girl.

Sigh. At least my new heroine is cool!

Karen Walker said...

Not yet, but I had a similar vision/experience when I visited Scotland and Ireland in 2009. My current WIP is that story.
Karen

Susannah said...

Go with it Anne, see where it leads you. I love what niamh says!

When I was working on my nanowrimo novel, one of my characters just came to life in the most wonderful way and due to the time constraints I just kept writing and am so glad I did.

If my 'mind' had interfered too much I would have shifted direction or stopped as it wasn't going where I expected it to. I am so glad I didn't!

The Golden Eagle said...

That's happened a few times--especially if I have a lot of characters. One will emerge and take the stage, even if they're not the one I originally planned to write about. :P

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ann .. sounds magical to me .. an easy transformation back two or three generations .. then room for so many tantalising thoughts across the generations, through ancestry and across borders, the sea etc ..

Follow the blue satin road I say .. grandmothers have so much to tell ..

Great - have a wonderful time exploring this world .. now I'd love to write! Cheers Hilary

Laura M. Campbell said...

I didn't lose a character, she just changed in a drastic way. When I started writing her story, I thought I knew who she was, but once the novel was complete, put a way for a few months, then pulled back out for revisions, she jumped up and down to get my attention. Apparently, I wrote her all wrong, and she slowly started to reveal herself through my revisions.

I think you should just continue the story where you left off to see where the novel takes you. Who knows? Maybe the MC will return. I wouldn't scrap anything yet. Good luck!

Old Kitty said...

All the time!! I find I want to write about person A but then a peripheral character will refuse to remain in the shadows and will gradually emerge!! I love that process!! And I love this amazing Grandmother about to take over from your original mc!! She truly sounds fabulous with such history and conflict!! Yay for you!!! All the best with your story!! Take care
x

Trisha said...

I can't really say this has happened to me yet, that I know of. But I have had moments when I've realised I want to write my supporting character's story at some point in future ;)

Regina said...

I think you should just let it flow and see where it takes you. If you need to scrap it, then scrap it. Maybe the girl in the beginning could be a younger version of the grandmother later on in the story or it could play out another way or be scrapped all together, but don't stop writing. If there is something coming out...put it down. :) Best wishes.

L'Aussie said...

I love it when a story happens like this. I'm thinking you would have a Dire Moment from the beginning that you could post on Friday.

Go with the flow. I think these characters are driving a story which may end up great!

Lovely that you're thinking of joining Romantic Friday Writers. It would be great as then you will get so much feedback on your work. You don't have to post every Friday. Just check out the Submissions page.

Denise<3

Jules said...

I think this is where good stories/characters come from. Starts with this/them and leads to a greater that/those. Give it a chance. ;)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Talli Roland said...

I get more secondary characters who butt their way in somehow!

I love the story of how the character first appeared to you.

Rosalind Adam said...

That's so exciting, Ann. Can't wait to see what develops. I'd love to receive a character like that. Maybe I'm trying too hard.

Josh Hoyt said...

It's so hard to let go of my own work I have not had to scrap a main character but can only imagine the frustration that would be. I always think all the work was for nothing, but in reality it is what got me to the point of needing to get rid of it. I think for me I need to understand this point about it isn't for nothing but a tool that gets me to the right place.

Plain Jane said...

I did that with school. Each declaired major would introduce another class that was more fascinating until I ended up as a chemistry major. And I thought I hated chemistry.

Madeleine said...

I hope you can continue the story. I have heard that often the first chapter or so gets scarpped in the edit anyway, so writing it is imporatnt for you to know the story. Sounds like you have a great story there. Go girl! :O)

Raquel Byrnes said...

You should totally go with it. Maybe the girl was a wish or dream of the grandmother. Maybe she represents a path not taken?
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Jan Morrison said...

yes, I have. the story has to tell it self before you know who the main characters are. the girl might need you to hear the grandmother's story first and then her's might be allowed to fully flower. I think you just need to hold on to your seat and let the ride play itself out. Then you'll know what you've got.
wonderful when it pours out of you like that!
Jan Morrison

Rosalind Adam said...

Just popped back to say that there's an award waiting for you on my blog :-)

Munir said...

I would continue probing. Who knows the main charecter could be the grandmother or the granddaughter who is like her in a different way.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

It sounds like the grandmother is going to be the mc. :) Let her lead you to the end of her or their story. :-)

Lauri said...

Very cool. Writing can be so weird at times, but amazing and magical too.

Ellie said...

Fascinating story of how the MC came you. I think you should go whereever she leads you, even if that means you stop writing her. There is also the possiblity that she may return in another dream in the future!

Ellie Garratt

Brenda Drake said...

That hasn't happened to me, but if it did, I would go with it and see where it ends. Good luck with the piece, I hope it's more than you imagined it could be! :D

Susan Fields said...

I think you should write both their stories! I'd start with the grandmother's, though, since she seems to have the most urgency. Maybe more about the original mc's story will show itself to you as you write her grandmother's story.

Title Loans said...

I definitely lack a focus when it comes to sticking with a character. I think it's something to do with thinking TOO much. So many ideas and no where to put them! When you write, do you have an outline you someone follow? I find even having a generic one helps keep me on track.
Ava

Sophie Li said...

New here!

Perhaps thats your muse coming to the surface?

J.L. Campbell said...

I'm stubborn, so I'll do everything to hang on to the first character that came to me. However, since the second character has appeared on stage with a lot more history intact, it'd be smart to write her story now and make the character part of a sequel, if necessary.

S said...

New here too. Glad I stubled upon your blog.
So jealous that you spend part of your year in Ireland. :/

Ann Best said...

It's magical when this happens. It IS now the grandmother's story, so it seems.

Thanks, Ann, for wishing me a happy birthday. Yesterday was indeed a good day, thanks to well wishes from family and friends like you!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Rachael Harrie said...

I can see why you'd want to put aside the MS in frustration - it's so hard to change MCs, and voices, when another makes themself known. But I guess the fact that they're pushing themselves on you should tell you something - trust yourself and your story :)

Hugs,

Rach