I bothered one of my characters today. He is one of the four POV characters in Story (a.k.a. The Children’s War), and he is the first character I came up with, waaaaaay back in the day. Like, high school back in the day. Lest that sound alarming (wow, kid, you’ve been working on the same book since high school?), let me assure you that I didn’t actually do anything but bother this character for like two solid years. He didn’t even have a name for one year, and neither did the other characters I’d come up with by that point. (One of the protagonists didn’t make his debut in my mind until like right before I started the First First Draft [i.e. my first novel attempt ever, and it was just as hilariously bad as it sounds]).
Anyway, for those first two years, most of working on Story consisted of taking this character out, poking him until he cried, observing the effects, and then putting him back in time to go to my first college classes and such. I had no idea if these characters would ever actually go anywhere until right about the time when I named them. Once they had names, I knew they would, but I was young and scared of not knowing what I was doing, so I didn’t start yet. I just continued to bother that first character and his growing number of world-mates. The world itself slowly built itself around them all. I began to realize that I now had more than a boy I began bothering in my mind because I was bored during a high school fencing meet. (I was the score keeper, because I am the world’s worst fencer. I was bored because our team was absolutely crushing the competition.) I had a pretty complex society. I had Themes. And I had ideas for bothering my characters in a defined direction, also known as a plot.
I have written many drafts of the first book of Story since then, and I’m going to start putting together a new batch of queries for it this week. (And on we go with that ride.) Of course, I still have two more books to write, and the scene I wrote today belongs to probably the second book, if it makes it into a book at all, which who knows. But it was fun to write, and it was also a sign: when I start bothering this character, I’m ready to move on to the next thing. So: queries and draft three of Werewolf Story. (And probably more occasional dips into the future of Story, because I miss bugging those kids.) After an awesome Friend Vacation and my volunteer experiment of the summer (kids were super cute, environmental impact was okay?, still clueless about my future), my brain is now ready to get back to constant writing. Let’s get started!