Character Hijackery

Imagine setting up something really, really complex, like an Ocean’s 11 style casino robbery, or maybe a game of Sorry – okay, maybe not that one – but something really complex, that you’ve puzzled over for months until now, now, this very minute, you’re ready to go. To pull the trigger, dial the phone, hit Execute, or RUN, or whatever it is that sets your plan in motion. Good for you.

You’re a writer, you know how it is. You slave away over your work, because you love it, and it’s good for you, and because you have something that needs to be said.

I’m working on Novel Number 3, tentatively called The Terrible – it’s a joke that plays out in the… rats, I’ve given it away. Well, forget that part.

So, it may seem like I’m rambling, but I’m giving you crumbs. Clues, if you will. Because you’re smart, and you’ll piece it all together.

Did you get anything yet?

Sigh. Okay, here it is. I’ll use little words: I’ve started a third novel. My first, MARIGOLD’S END, is under revision, my second, DROPPINGTON PLACE, is self-published, and I can’t sit here on my hands and just die, can I? I mean, can you?

This third novel is carefully laid out, with four strong central characters. Well, it was four, but, just yesterday, I needed a transition piece, a moment that both gives us time and place and setting, but that also starts the storytelling ball rolling.

So I created this simple fellow – not much more than a name, really – to carry the news of the French ambassador’s arrival. Not so bad, huh? Except that he needed a little background, and a little definition, a little purpose…

And then the son of a biscuit stole my whole story! He’s none of the four dried up, dowdy guys I’d so carefully designed. He’s young, he’s brave, and he’s innocent.   Suddenly, the four guys are bit players to this kid’s story. What the heck? It’s like Ensign Checkov taking over the Enterprise! R2D2 piloting the Millennium Falcon. Wait, what?

All seriousness aside, I’ve been thinking about this story for a while now. My first novel was a labor of love – and very, very hard to write, rewrite, and… I think I’m on the seventh version. The second novel was just plain fun – I wanted to explore Elizabethan words, and magic, and make a young adult story that was positive and generous.

This new one, tentatively called The Terrible (I think I mentioned this already – please try to keep up), is my story. It’s my… my way of giving back. It’s set on the French/Spanish border in the year 1657. No, it’s not the Three Musketeers, but that book has always been my go-to for inspiration and grounding.

So, The Terrible is the story I was created to tell. It’s the novel that I became a writer to write. It’s the story – I think. I know you have a story like that – it’s why you write.

If it turns out bad, I’ll come up with some clever way to dismiss it. But, it won’t be bad, because this is the story. This is my story.

But, and here’s the part that is just crazy, this new guy’s story isn’t mine. I’m somewhere in this book, but I haven’t found out where. You know the guy has power, because he took over my whole dang life story just by getting named!

More to follow…

 

 

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Author: John Reinhart

Technical writer John Reinhart says his mission is to get his readers excited about the possibilities of and wonders of planetary science. A happily married father of three from Ventura, CA, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cal State Chico, has taught college courses, and is working on his second novel.

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