By Cheri Chesley
I posted on Writing Fortress this week about my well of ideas never running dry. In fact, there’s never a time when I don’t know something I could be writing about. It’s daunting, since I have no idea how I will ever make the time to get them all out of my head.
That’s not to say everything I write is for publication. I had to write some things to purge my soul—others are so atrocious they’ll never see the light of day. But, once I write them down, they release my mind. And I can be free to work on the next thing.
Here’s the best example of what I mean: In 2007 I was certain I had the perfect book. I submitted said book to a publisher. But while waiting for a response, something odd happened. One particular character would not leave me alone. He was with me in my dreams, in my waking hours, always demanding that his story be told. He’s the villain. And he was upset that I had chosen to end the story with him losing out on what he’d wanted.
Silly me, I tried to reason with him. In my mind. Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. Finally I sat down to tweak the ending of the book. I barely got it finished before hearing back from the publisher. They accepted it! Hooray! (BTW, they never got around to working on my book and offered me a contract release in 2008, which I accepted. And I’m so glad I did.)
Still, this character was not satisfied. Finally, utterly at a loss, I sat down and wrote an alternate ending to my story. Seriously. In it the bad guy wins, he gets the one thing he prizes above all else, and I wrote him into old age. At last, the voice in my head quieted. I’d done it.
I don’t ever plan on putting that alternate ending anywhere but on my flash drive. I guess you can say it’s something I did entirely for myself. Because I wanted peace.
So, what do you guys to when your characters don’t leave you alone? Or is this just something that happens to me? :)