By Keith Fisher
There is an old song by The Mavelettes called Please Mr. Postman. A girl waits to hear from her boyfriend in a letter. She camps out on her own doorstep, ready to jump the postal carrier. She doesn’t believe there isn’t a letter.
Please Mister Postman, look and see (Oh yeah)
If there's a letter in your bag for me
(Please, Please Mister Postman)
Why's it takin' such a long time (Oh yeah)
For me to hear from that boy of mine
There must be some word today
From my boyfriend so far away
Please Mister Postman, look and see
If there's a letter, a letter for me
I've been standin' here waitin' Mister Postman
For just a card, or just a letter
Sayin' he's returnin' home to me
I feel a little like that girl, only I check my email every five minutes waiting to hear from a publisher. I know it hasn’t been long enough but my anxiousness has been turning into obsession. After all, what else do I have to do?
To be truthful I don’t check my email that much. I work on my new book and get carried away with it. So much, that I’ve begun to feel guilty for cheating on my other book.
Let me explain—I’m a writer. I spend hours plotting and building, visualizing my story and my characters. Characters begin to become real to me. Since, I’m the writer/creator I know the back-story. My character’s hopes and dreams are in my head. I know everything about them, perhaps more than I know about myself.
Once this information has been clearly established in my mind, It’s very hard to develop other characters and story lines. It’s not that a writer can’t come up with new things, they can. In fact it’s refreshing to start something new. It’s like moving to a new location, you get to find friends and learn new things.
But before long those old characters get your attention, and they wonder why you haven’t thought about them. "Because I’m working a new character." you answer. The old character, lets call her Mary, looks hurt. She turns away from you and you can hear a sniffle. "But Jane means nothing to me. She has a different story line. Besides, you will always be my first love."
Of course all of that is a lie. Yes, Jane means the world to you. She’s exciting and she gives you new experiences. Well, Mary isn’t convinced either. She storms out of the room and you are left feeling guilty. You can’t wait to get Mary published just to vindicate her, to make her feel worthwhile.
You catch up to her and let her down easy. "It’s over." you say. "I know I’m a pig, but I’ve moved on. I hope you can too." She cries and the guilt is stronger than ever. "I’ll write you into one more story," you say. "I’ll create a character who loves you. Then you can forget me."
Before you lock me up remember this, there are hundreds of sequels created everyday, and characters that continue to have new adventures. Odd Thomas, Harry Potter, and the Barrington family just to name three. I wonder if Agatha Christie had problems with inspector Poirot.
I’m speculating here, but did you think the writers brought Bobby Ewing back to life because of the fans? Oh no, Bobby invaded the writer’s dreams. He gave them nightmares, so the whole previous season turned out to be only a dream.
Well. I’ve managed to distract myself for a few minutes. I wonder if the mail is here yet.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.