Thursday, September 18, 2008


By Nichole Giles

Last weekend I went to a conference for the League of Utah Writers. I’m always glad to learn something new, and to socialize with other authors. I stayed the night at the hotel where the conference was held, partly because the conference was a good distance from my home, and partly because there were a few activities and speakers scheduled for the previous evening—and with the price of gas these days, and considering travel time to and from Ogden, a hotel room was the better choice.

I have to confess, though, the poetry dinner that night got boring after a while. I didn’t enter anything in the contest, so it was difficult to keep my attention riveted. Toward the end, I snuck away. There was no graceful way to do this, mind you, since I was seated in the far back corner of the room—and there was only one way in or out. (I watched one or two people—who I will not name—try to sneak out through the kitchen, but the staff wouldn’t allow it, the meanies.) Anyone needing to use the restroom would have had the same problem, and I had watched people here and there do just that, and since I actually did need to go, I…did.

But I digress. I have a terrible habit of doing that lately. Sheesh.

I snuck up to my room and changed into my jammies, then snuggled up under the Marriott’s fluffy down comforter to work on my book. Honestly, having the evening to myself to work on my book was part of the appeal of staying over night. Especially since I had planned to finish this project by the end of August, and it still isn’t ready to go. But then again, you can’t rush perfection. So I wrote for three hours—until I couldn’t see anymore and my brain got stuck.

My characters insisted that things happen a different way than how I was trying to write them, and that night, our argument ended in a standoff.

So I went to bed—determined that I’d be able to figure out a solution in the morning. Of course, I got very little sleep, because my characters wouldn’t shut up. (Thanks a lot, guys!) And by the time I got moving and had everything together to check out, it was time to run downstairs to my first class. I ended up stewing about my dilemma all day until I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Frankly, I hate being stuck.

So, during a break between the last class and the banquet, I pulled out my computer (along with some earphones so I could drown out background noise) and kicked back in a chair in the lobby to have it out with my characters once and for all.

Well, I worked it out—sort of. And after I fixed it, I was able to concentrate on other things and people. Like, the speaker at the banquet, and my friends at the table with me.

What a relief! I hate arguing with my characters. Sometimes they can be so darn stubborn!


Dan and Wendy said...

I hear you Nichole. For me at least, I've learned that when I'm arguing with my characters, it's usually best to just listen to them. They're rather insistent on that. Their ideas are usually better that what I originally thought, and they won't leave me alone until I do things their way.

Nichole Giles said...

Dan, that is so true! That's what they claim too. I just wish I knew their reasoning.

Thanks for commenting.