I've received a two emails the last few days asking--in the nicest ways--where I have been. The emails surprised and touched me and made me realize how much I've neglecting blogging. There are a variety of reasons, the most recent is that I've met a new guy.
It's not what you think--I'm a happily married woman. No, this new guy doesn't exist. He is the new voice in my head demanding to have his story told.
You see, the WIP I've been focusing on for the last year is narrated by Jie, and she tends to be a little distant and cold. I love her, but she, like all characters, is a victim of her circumstances. And some of her circumstances have hardened her.
When Jie went out for a much needed critiquing vacation a few weeks ago, I started opening the random gazillion documents that are various outlines and starts of other novels. Three of them inspired me, and I began working on all three knowing that one would be the gold in the bottom of the pan. That if I just kept sifting out the sand, it would appear.
But then a new idea struck, and I started writing frantically. My new man is Carbry. I attached to him because in many ways, he is the opposite of Jie. He's warm and caring and has a sense of humor that is refreshing.
I'm not sure how it is for all writers--but when I get a clear sense of a character, I hear the voice in my head. Carbry's smooth voice is as present in my head as my own. The dips and pulls and rhythms in his speech dominates my own when I am writing him.
That's how I know when a story has to be told--when a character's voice can override my own. For me, it has nothing to do with the plot or story, all of that comes later. But as soon as that character's voice is as loud as my own, I know that I will have to tell their story-- at some point.
How do you decide what stories to tell?