NOTE: I was going to write about NaNoWriMo, but I got distracted. Again. I'll get back to it next week...I think.
Last week, I wrote at length (of course) about my new idea. You should probably read that post, because otherwise this isn't going to make a whole lot of sense. I titled that post "Let Me Inside Your Head", but I think I might want to take that back.
See, I'm still working on the gender-free first person narrative section of the book (I wasn't joking; go read it). I took the good advice you all gave me to heart, and just went for it. Dove head-first into my character and didn't look back.
Ok, that's not entirely true. Actually, I first tried writing a snippet of a scene (you know, brainstorming), proceeded to have a minor panic attack about my inability to write in the first person, and retreated to the relative safety of my character analysis instead.
Here's the thing, though: I usually write these analyses in the third person, like a psychoanalyst writing up a patient. And I did that for about two paragraphs before I got really fed up with not using any gender pronouns (no 'he', no 'she' - hello, stupid diction gymnastics!), and switched to the first person, anyway.
And then the most amazing thing happened: the words just started pouring out. It felt for all the world like my hands couldn't keep up with the words in my head; the story wanted to be told. Or maybe this character wanted to be heard. Either way, I couldn't stop the story. It was all back-story, all of the details that might never appear in the finished novel but that are essential in crafting a three-dimensional person: how this person grew up, why this person acts the way they do (Oh for God's sake, let's just use the character name - Sam - and dispense with the ridiculous maneuvering), what Sam is afraid of, and all of Elizabeth George's other character attributes.
This was amazing. This was inspiring. It keeps happening, too - every time I sit down to work on Sam, it's a flood of words.
And believe it or not, this is becoming a problem.
Now, this is going to sound crazy. I mean, I know I say that sort of thing a lot on this blog, and maybe it might have the 'boy who cried wolf' effect, but honestly, this is really going to sound crazy.
I can't get out of Sam's head.
I know, I know, you're thinking "Ok Liz, that's cute and dramatic and all, but come on now. Stop snorting the special blue fairy dust and tell us the truth."
This is the truth, though, melodrama and mind-altering substances notwithstanding. I start writing, and when it's time to stop, I can't. It takes me a long time to move out of Sam's headspace. I quite honestly feel dazed, and - call the loony bin, because this is even crazier - I feel submerged in whatever emotion Sam was feeling. Sadness, loss, fear, joy; whatever I was writing about, I'm still feeling it when I get up from the computer. And God forbid I should be interrupted while I'm writing, because then I'm pretty sure there's a non-gender-specified Australian sheep farmer (yes, Sam is an Australian sheep farmer; don't ask) walking around in my body, talking to my wife, giving massages, texting my friends, and sleeping in my bed.
Which is weird.
This has never happened to me before. Sure, I get engrossed in my stories; sure, it's hard for me to be interrupted; and yes, of course I'm often still thinking about what I was writing when I get up and move about the rest of my day. But I don't usually feel like I'm stuck in another person's brain. A FICTIONAL person's brain, which I myself MADE UP.
I'm telling myself this is a good thing. I'm telling myself that I'm really getting to know my character, that I'm really digging down into my, like, writer's soul, man, and that's, like, deep and stuff.
Needless to say, I'm not sure I believe myself. Maybe this is one of the perils of writing in the first person, or maybe I am snorting special blue fairy dust. The thing is, I don't even know if I really have Sam's voice down yet. I don't think I do. I think I don't have a tone yet, or a set style, or Sam's real, true voice, and I think I'm still having Sam say and think things that aren't accurate. And yet, I can't get out of Sam's head. It's confusing and unnerving and for the first time in my life, I'm having to come up with ways to transition out of writing and into the rest of my day, and put Sam away.
So yes, I think I might change my mind. It's not "Let Me Inside Your Head", it's "Let Me OUT". At least, let me out when it's time to get out. Please?