Thursday, November 20, 2008


Since putting away the first draft of my novel, I’ve been working on revising short stories. Not a bad way to pass the time. But whenever I sit to write it takes a few moments to remember what I worked on the day before. The narrative thread that tied together my novel is on a hiatus. So, I have to create temporary narrative threads for each story I write.

It doesn’t always work. I miss living with the same characters for months at a time. The characters from my stories live in bursts, sometimes brilliant, but often foggy and unformed. Especially if I’m still figuring out what the story’s about and what the characters are supposed to do. But characters from a novel stay with me. I know what they eat, what they do on an average Wednesday, what music they listened to in college, whether they know how to spell communiqué.

My novel characters hibernate as I consider them during their long winter, until I'm ready to sit back down and exhume them for another go-round. And when I do, they'll come alive and show me what their favorite colors are and how they quit their first job by skywriting a note to their boss and why they broke up with their pregnant girlfriend on Valentine's day then asked her out the day after.

Until then, I’m rudderless; dealing with cranky protagonists who bother me to understand why I brought them into my world, confused about what to do next. They’re not my first loves, but they’ll have to do for a while.

Friday my iPod Slept Late

Black Lipstick—Grandma Airplane
The Cure—Catch (live bootleg)
Echo and the Bunnymen—It’s all over now, Baby Blue (Live)
Orange Juice—Poor Old Soul (Part One)
Bill Nelson—Another Day, Another Ray of Hope
Pavement—Summer Babe (Winter Version)
The Jesus and Mary Chain—Hole
The Field Mice—The Last Letter
Gnarls Barkley—Last Time
Underworld—Boy Boy Boy
Thievery Corporation—Lebanese Blonde
Figurine—New Mate
New Order—The Him
Belle & Sebastian—I Don’t Love Anyone


liz's Mom said...

Right, so true.
I love reading about this stuff.

Liz (made in lowell) said...

Always fascinating to hear how the sausage is made :) I never thought about the relationship between the author and their characters!

Dell Smith said...


Cynthia Sherrick said...

The characters in my books become very real to me. Often times I dream about them, and when I write they sometimes demand which way a scene should flow.
It sounds a bit crazy but so true. :)

Dell Smith said...

Oh, I wish I dreamed about mine. That would help suss their traits out.