Tuesday, June 28, 2011

As Worlds Collide

When I was twelve years old and first decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, I was just beginning work on the characters who would later show up in Endangered Memories, my latest young adult science fiction/fantasy novel. And when I first started the Expired Reality series - which Endangered Memories is pulled from - I pictured the series running at least a dozen books.

I still picture the series running at least a dozen novels, in addition to some shorts stories and novellas I plan on throwing in there every now and then. But when I started my Black Earth series - a sort of prequel to the events that occur in the Expired Reality series - I planned on the series running about four or five books. And then the fifth book would bump up against the first book in the Expired Reality series and the novels would continue down the line.

But something changed the other day. Something happened which was a bit unexpected and I guess all the blame can fall on my characters.

That's right - my characters.

As long as I've been writing, I've come to realize that my characters have a mind of their own. I can do my best to try and kill them, but if they want to live badly enough, they'll find a way to live. The reverse is true as well, and nothing saddens me more than to watch a beloved character die. I'll admit that it does scare me a bit that my characters can have such a mind of their own.

This brings me to my main point of this blog post. The other day I was working on Dark Horizons, the third installment of my Expired Reality series, and a couple characters showed up unexpectedly. Both are from my Black Earth series. Both are unique in that they were able to survive and live through the 100 year gap between the events of Black Earth and the events that serve as the beginning to Endangered Memories.

These characters, for those who have read the books in my Black Earth series, are Griffin and Pearl.

I originally planned on having Pearl show up in the Expired Reality series, but much later down the line - like maybe the fifth or sixth book. But she just strolled on the page while I was writing Dark Horizons and revealed herself to me and some of my other characters. "Hi," she said as she waved to the rest of the cast. "Just dropped by to make my presence known."

Griffin on the other hand wasn't a character I planned on revealing in the Expired Reality series...ever. The scenes I have been working on in Dark Horizons have a young man who paired up with one of the heroes - Veronica Amorou - as she attempts to escape the police. Throughout the scenes I wrote, he's only mentioned as a young man. I had no name for him, figuring I'd come up with one by the time the second draft came along. But it seems my characters got sick and tired of him not having a solid identity and finally pressed him to reveal his name.

"My name is Griffin," he said.

So there you have it. Two worlds, two unique novel series, thrust together, joined with a bond that cannot be broken. All because of my characters. Characters who refuse to die, who refuse to remain in the shadows of the past and strive to remain immortal.


Unknown said...

The unexpected twists and turns of the writing process are what make it so much fun. I'm an intensive outliner, so I always know most of the details of my plot before I actually start writing the first draft. But my stories still never fail to surprise me. Battle plans are all well and good, but everything has a way of changing once you actually enter the fray.

Unknown said...

K, I agree. I love how unexpectedly a writing plan can turnaround. My friends and family think it's fascinating how my characters do what they want to do without my approval. But that's really what we live for as writer's, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I like Griffin so I am all for him standing up for himself. Hope the writing continues to go well. Good luck with both series.

Unknown said...

Good to hear, Scott (Bookblogger). Hope you're enjoying the other series as much as you did Black Earth. :D