I’ve said before that I keep a variety of writing projects on the go. It allows me to write when the mood strikes, no matter what the mood. Because I received a project grant to write A Few Kinds of Wrong, I spent a winter of working on restricting myself to working on that one novel (interrupted only by editing another novel and writing a short story). So, I was looking forward to getting back to my other work, in particular, a fun book to write with a character who is so rich and fun and unpredictable that it’s just a joy to spend time with her (and all the other characters in the book). This is quite a contrast from Wrongs which is darker and is about death and grieving, pain and healing. So after hanging out mired in the grief of one character for so long, it’s no wonder that I wanted to get back to some fun stuff. I printed out the 120 pages I have already written in Unnamed Fun Novel (so much for the paperless society), enjoyed rereading it, know right where I want to go next, don’t have a clue where to go after that but know, without a doubt, that I’ll figure it out. I should be face and eyes back into this book by now.
But every time I start to write, the other characters from Wrongs call me. I’ve finished the first draft of Wrongs but there is much to be filled in, things to research, things to move around, and they want me to work at it. They come to me in dreams and most of all songs. I’ve switched the songs on my MP3 player from the soundtrack of Wrongs to that of Unnamed Fun Novel. I had to. The kind of slow, sticky, sad, music from the Wrongs soundtrack makes the character in Unnamed Fun Novel roll her eyes and huff off somewhere far away. But songs keep coming on the radio and television and movies that make me think of Wrongs. Scenes and conversations continue from characters I wish to let go of for a while, just to let them sit in a drawer so I can get distance before starting on the next draft. They should sit there quietly and wait for me. They’re not and I don’t know why.
Part of me wonders if it is because I have been exclusive with this novel. We have had a committed relationship instead of me just bouncing back and forth between books. And while I have liked and loved characters from my other books, I think the subject matter and tone of Wrongs, along with this commitment, have made me feel connected to it more than any other.
I know the solution to my problem. As always I have to write through it. I have to put my pen on the paper and find my way back to the characters in Unnamed Fun Novel. But I think I have to tell myself that when that other crowd calls out to me, I’ll allow myself to visit them, to jot notes about them, hang out a little and say hello without getting too immersed. Like a literary booty call. At least until I find my way back to the other novel, at which time, I will be able to work on them both again.