I have been participating in various BIAM (Book In A Month) this year, one of which ended in September. I had decided to pick something new to write, an idea that had come to me (like most of us) out of the blue. The story developed well, and it was actually one of the few stories that I completely outlined ahead of time, including the characters, their names, what they looked like and their motivation.
Then the month ended. I had gotten pretty far in the story, though it was a change for me because I was writing the characters from sort of their viewpoint, but from third person. I usually like to write in first person, which drives most people crazy.
This last week I was in Hawaii. While most people would be out visiting the beaches, (which I did once or twice) I was writing. The group I'd been doing the BIAM with during September had decided they'd enjoyed it so much, they were continuing it into October. I figured it would only help me be more prepared for November and Nanowrimo, so I continued too, despite my location. Only -- the story didn't. I decided I needed to write something about Hawaii so that perhaps I could count some of it as a business expense. Research and all that...
The story I tried forcing about the area just wasn't working. Suddenly I realized I needed to use the same characters that I'd been writing in the September story. They were familiar, they had become my friends, and I wanted to see how they would do in Hawaii. It was almost like an epiphany! The story flowed from my fingers, though it was still hard to concentrate -- I was missing my family too much.
Now that I'm home, I've got to transfer it all to computer because I was writing it in longhand. Man does that make your hands tired! What surprised me the most though, was how attached I've grown to these characters.
They are three women, and in retrospect, all three of them are some kind of extension of me and what made me who I am today. One is Sandi -- single, gorgeous, blonde and a workaholic who thinks that her soul mate died on the pioneer treks. Next is Ray, short, slim, dark haired, artistic and recently divorced (though in this story she might not be yet or just barely) with a dead child. Third is Mary -- average height, auburn haired and a little plump, a control freak, happily married and the mom of 5 children. They make me wonder if I'm a closet schizophrenic.
What excites me though, is developing how they deal with life. I want to see how they go through different experiences and how they depend on each other's friendships to get them through. I've come to the realization that I'm going to be doing three books, one for each character, though all three will be in every book.
I suppose that most of us become attached to our stories and feel close to the characters. But this is the first time I've really felt close to mine. It's a new experience for me. Perhaps it's because of the outlines I made of each of the characters, but to be honest, they were like that when they came to me. I just put it to paper.