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The Polyamorous Writer


posted by Lucy V Morgan on

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I have a confession to make: I have not one novel-in-progress, but two.

They say that while a writer might work on many things at once, only one project really belongs to them. Only one beeps when you scan the barcode; only one star-crossed hero or feisty villain keeps prodding you in the ribs and hissing, "write me, or I shall scream. Or...call your mother."  (In the case of one character: "Write me or I'll shit in your bed.")

But both of these projects speak to me on the same, froth-blooded level. Both have casts of characters  marinating in their own hopes, failures and fantasies, and they get impatient when I ignore them. I'm all, "excuse me, anti-hero B. I have a life." To which he looks me up and down, cocks an eyebrow, and says "...really?"

What do you do when you're constantly pulled in two directions? When you barely have time to write one, let alone both? I rationalise that I should just put one to the side and get the other out of the way, but the characters get lonely. They don't want to live in a notebook; they aren't genies to be summoned out of lamps. I've tried to explain that I love both of them equally but anti-hero B in particular gets jealous. "I see henchman version 2.0 got my line about the armadillos," he says. "We both know that I said that way better, so hop to it and write my frickin' scene, mmmkay?"

I did come up with one solution: pitch a tent near wifi access. Move in for the summer and just write, write, write (maybe with a spot of reading in the afternoons). Alas, I think my husband and three year-old might have something to say about that. (Also, I have long red hair and pale skin, and am more suited to fifties styles than the hobo look).

Novels are not patient or understanding. They don't understand your need for food or sleep, or gin (they're a lot like toddlers, actually). But I am not prepared to divorce one bunch of characters because I'm finding it hard to keep it in my pants head. These ideas are too good to waste; I'll just have to work through them.

Sorry, anti-hero B. But that scene where you trash the druglord Prince's ghetto den? On my to-do list. I promise...

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