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Inside the Author’s Brain
by Lavinia Kent
I should be clear that I can only speak for my own brain, fuzzy as it is, but I have spoken to a number of other authors and while some have a very different experience than I do, I have found many who are in complete agreement with me.
Do our characters actually talk to us?
Sometimes. Mostly I am in complete control and they only come to visit me when I am trying to put them on a page or lying in bed falling asleep and trying to figure out my next plot problem. But I do have to admit they have occasionally visited as I am waiting at a red light. If you’re ever behind me in traffic and I don’t start when the light turns green, I can almost guarantee somebody is arguing with me about why what I’ve just written is all wrong. Luckily, I can also guarantee that a good honk is like magic, and will banish my visitor for at least an hour or two.
I have two great examples of characters taking over. In one of my first manuscripts (unpublished), I had the book all plotted out. It was a great long, romantic story, all based on a misunderstanding. But my heroine didn’t like the plot. I swear it felt like she marched up to me in the grocery store and started to yell, “Do you think I am a wimpy fool? I am going to stomp right up to him in Chapter Two and tell him just what I think of what he’s done. There is no way I am avoiding him for eleven more chapters. That is just stupid.”
I was forced to agree.
The second example happened when I was writing last October’s release, What a Duke Wants. I’ve always had a thing for arrogant Alpha heroes, and I was all set to have Mark, my hero, turn away from my heroine, Isabella, in her moment of need. I was actually at the computer typing away – and suddenly my fingers were writing something else. It’s as close to an out-of-body experience as I’ve ever had. I was thinking one thing and my hands were doing another. There was a deep, rich, masculine chuckle echoing in the background.
Of course, in the end, I am in control. Even when my characters think that they’ve gotten away with something, I do know how to hit the Delete key (or more likely cut and save someplace else – I am always worried that I’ll decide later that a deleted scene was actually perfect).
So how many voices are in your head? Are you sure you’re not crazy?
In answer to the first, too many. And in regards to the second, I plead the Fifth.
The loudest voices are always from the book I plan to write next. Yes, that’s right, the next book, not the one I am working on. I suppose my current hero and heroine are getting enough time on the page, and don’t feel the need to speak up – unless I get something wrong. The characters in the next book, however, are speaking up loud and louder in an effort to get their turn.
I also have a number of past heroes and heroines pushing for time and attention. It’s one of the things I like the most about being published. Once the book is off to the printers and nothing can be changed, my characters tend to fade into the background for good – except when the want a cameo in somebody else’s book.
I’ve tried to reason with them. I’ve told them I know the story. I’ve even given them the first line.
Hargrove is dead.
I was finally forced to set the hero from my latest proposal on them. He’s a duke, and as arrogant as they come. He’s been very clear that he’s having too much fun bickering with his heroine to allow anybody else (even another duchess) to get a word in.
And I’ve been sticking up for him (told you I loved a good hero), because he does deserve his turn, and I don’t want him to end up in that most dreaded of places, the saved file of old Works-In-Progress. A character that ends up there, you see, almost never moves out of my mind. They are always there, fighting to move to the front again, wanting their story told.
It can give me quite a headache.
So what do you think about as you fall asleep at night? I’ve always wondered what people who aren’t authors do in those fading minutes. I can’t imagine falling asleep without a story working itself out. Even if I am not working on a book, I have to make something up. What do you do?
Tell me and I’ll draw one lucky reader to send a complete set of my ”Duchesses” novellas (either e-book or paperback) to get you warmed up for Annie. (Who is at the minute screaming that she has no intention of being quiet just because some pompous man told her to. Ahhh, business as usual.)
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been fun. I can’t wait to chat.
She lives under the gracious (and usually benign) rule of Erzsebet, the cat, along with her husband, three children, one cockatiel, two rats, and Erzsebet’s younger, subordinate tomcat, otherwise known as The Golden Snitch.
As the mother of three, Lavinia finds “leisure time” to be ever-elusive, but when she is not reading romance novels, she watches far too much HBO and reality television. It must also be noted that she has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Buffy and Doctor Who.
She has four published Regency Historical romances including, A Talent for Sin, Bound by Temptation, Taken by Desire and What a Duke Wants. She also has a set of sensual and fun novellas about The Real Duchesses of London.
You can visit Lavinia and learn more about her books at her website / Twitter / Facebook.