I’ll just let them stay a little while

Remember how I decided I would let the characters in my novel in progress, tentatively titled A Few Kinds of Wrong, come visit for a literary booty call while I worked on Unnamed Fun Novel? Well yesterday I was having coffee with Trudy who unintentionally gave me permission to continue with something in Wrongs that I was unsure about and the characters started screaming for me to get back at it. They were relentless and I was not great to be around yesterday evening. My mind kept wanting to be there with them and not in the “real world”. Finally I sat down with pen and paper and whispered that they could stay for a few minutes only and that once I wrote a bit of a scene and knew where it was going, then that would be it and they would have to go away again. But they stayed for hours and now this morning they are still there.

I explained to them that I cannot have a committed relationship at this time. I need to see other stories right now and have some fun. I know that the main character in Unnamed Fun Novel is not happy. I can picture her tapping her fingers on a table and rolling her eyes, saying “You cannot be serious. I’m here with all these exciting people and really interesting things going on. I mean I got shot, for God’s sake. And you want to hang out with misery guts there and her crying and her ‘poor me, poor me’.” And I want to say “But BJ and Jennifer are having a really big fight now and I’m finding out a lot more about both of them so I just have to see it through and then I’ll go back to you.”

And I think I have figured out why the transitioning between novels has been so hard. Like I said before, I have never had this problem. I can, and have, worked on three different projects in one day, slipping in and out of each one with very little effort. But I think the problem here is one of tense. Wrongs is in the present tense and Unnamed Fun Novel is in the past tense. The characters, as this post proves, are alive and well and living inside my head. It’s getting them down on paper in their respective tenses that is the problem. Part of me is tempted to see if Wrongs would be better in the past tense just to make the process easier and because the present tense is harder for me in general. But I know the present is the right one and that is not the answer, at least not right now, at least not at this point in the process. I’ll just have to keep trying and let the work guide me.

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