Prior to sitting down and writing, I outlined how I wanted to story to go. I’ve been writing the new manuscript for the last two weeks and it's been frustrating. I’ve done multiple rewrites of the first chapter, which is unusual. Typically, when I start a new manuscript the first hundred pages are easy to get down on paper. Not so this time. Why?
I’m at WAR with my protagonist!
It’s my own fault. I loved the protagonist from JUJU’S CHILD. Malaise was so easy going. She glided across the page like a ballet dancer, twisting and bending in whatever direction I wanted her story to go in. She spoiled me.
Tears well up in my eyes, as I cry, “I miss you, Mala. I’ll return soon for the sequel.”
Now, spotlight shifts onto Cairo, the most untrusting, unbending…how many more un’s do I need to tack on to properly describe this little brat. This character is fighting to keep me from getting to know her. I don’t even know what she looks like other than she’s tall, has a zit on her chin, and has curly black hair. Even that could be described better, but I really can’t visualize her. She’s not completely “real” yet (I’m not crazy, I know she’s a product of my imagination). I’ve barely scratched the surface of Cai's personality, other than to conclude she likes to do things her own way.
Sorta like me. Which makes me wonder what part of my subconsious is manifesting through this story?
So, here's what she did. Within four pages, she had totally deviated from the outline. Outline tossed in the trash! Waste of paper. Annoying, but...Cai has good instincts. The outline sucked. I couldn't see it at first, but now I do. I love the way the rewrites are coming along. My hope is that as I get further I get into the story the character will open like a little daisy--that she’ll be sweetness and light and our initial rivalry over the direction we want this story to go in will turn to mutual trust and cooperation.
Someday, I hope to say. Gosh, I love this character.
Has anyone else had this problem? I hope I’m not alone in having a difficult character ‘cause I’m feeling like I’m a little cuckoo for even writing this post.