Last Thursday night I sat down to write the latest chapter for my serial novel. Because the scenes just pick up from where I left off the week before, I often don’t use character names until the third or fourth sentence. So there I was, trying to describe what it would be like for my hero to wake up in a hospital – and having a heck of a time. I couldn’t figure out why it just wouldn’t work – why it didn’t seem to “fit” like it should. Normally I can “experience” things through my characters pretty easily while I write, so after twenty minutes or so I was pretty frustrated.
And then it hit me. I was still in Ben’s head – which doesn’t sound like a problem, except the hero of Indelibly Inked is *Adam*. Ben is the hero in Hearts on Trial, which I’d been working on the night before. The thing about Ben is, even though I don’t know him all that well yet, he still experiences things differently than Adam, and his reaction to waking up in the hospital would be much different than Adam’s. He’d feel, smell…notice different things.
I usually don’t have a problem jumping around from character to character – I think that’s why I like reading/writing in multiple points of view so much. I think that’s also why I can generally work on multiple stories at once. For some reason though, I wasn’t quite done with Ben last week. Or maybe he wasn’t quite done with me (and doesn’t that sound delicious…).
Normally I “get into” a story by reading at least a few paragraphs of what I wrote last. In the case of the serial novel, where continuity is of the utmost importance, I read the whole last scene and am constantly checking back on previous scenes (I probably should treat my normal drafts like that, actually). I still did that last Thursday, so not sure why Ben just didn’t want to let Adam have a turn…
Have you ever found yourself writing one character into another’s place, accidentally? How long did it take you to realize that’s what you were doing? Do you do anything to try to “catch up” with your characters before you start working on any specific story?