Sometimes, I mutter under my breath while I do the dishes. My husband, Ismael, always thinks I’m talking to him. I’m not. I clarify this. And then it gets weird. Who am I talking to? Doug. As Leah. Or Jacklyn. As Kyp. You see, sometimes, when dialogue isn’t running correctly in my head, I need to talk through it. Out loud. And it makes me sound crazy.
Ismael never does this himself, but he doesn’t question it. In my family unit, eccentricities like this, the occasional screamed “WAIT! I need to write this down!”, the fact that our computers or at the very least, a notebook, must be packed everywhere we go, are deemed normal. A popular mantra in our household could be, “Whatever it takes to keep writing.”
I wonder how Logan, my four year old son, will adapt to these oddities. Will he pick up these little habits we’ve got, or will he just grow up thinking writers are crazy and do everything he can to avoid it? I’m happy either way.
Apparently, my connection to my characters is a little strange, even to my husband. I recently completed a manuscript that stars the aforementioned Doug and Leah. Unlike the manuscript I’d been working on with Jacklyn and Kyp, this one has no sequel planned for it. This is an actual end for characters I have been living with on and off since before the birth of my son. I seem to be having a difficult time with it.
So, a couple of days after Leah and I parted ways, I was laying on my couch, computer on my stomach as I often do once the baby is asleep and the chores are complete, with Ismael seated in a desk chair beside me. I smiled, and Ismael noticed.
“What are you thinking?”
“I’m wondering what Doug’s Facebook status would be today.” This was not the first thought I’d had that was similar. I had also wondered about how Doug would present his relationship status changes (which I’m not going to explain because it could spoil the story).
I do that often. Placing my characters into quirky real life settings that I would never write them into. Sometimes, they lead to quirky real life settings I actually do write them into. I mentioned the dishes earlier for a reason. My mind clears when I do dishes. I don’t know what it is about them, but I’m always able to brainstorm while I do that particular chore. One day, while brainstorming some dialogue between two characters, I realized they needed to be doing something while they talked, so the scene didn’t get bogged down with back and forth. The main group of characters live in a large house together, so I decided the teens should be on dish duty. This ended up becoming a motif in the story, to the point that when the pair is separated, one of the characters finds dishes to be a nerve wracking task because it reminds him of the other.
You may think I’m insane. I feel very grateful to live with a writer because he doesn’t. When I say something like, “I can imagine what Grayson would think about that,” in the middle of a conversation, he is unfazed – and not at all jealous of the many men, women and children that have taken up residence in my brain. And as crazy as you may believe the both of us are – one thing is for sure. I’ll never be lonely.