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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who are you Sadie Thomas?

Do you ever wonder what happens to your characters when you leave them alone at night?

Do they just power down or fall into stand-by mode until tomorrow or whenever you return to them? Maybe it’s more like when the director calls off the action on a movie set. They drop their character personas and demand a bottle of Evian as they wait for the next take. I’m not really sure. All I know is that they haunt me like some weird form of schizophrenia.

Every one but my leading lady… I need a Behind the Scenes pass into her life because she’s not speaking to me yet.

I have to think that means I don’t like her. She doesn’t stick with me when I leave the keyboard. Sure, she pops into my brain in concert with others, as part of a scene or when I know I need her for something, but she’s just taking up space. Unlike the rest of them, I don’t see her or things she would do in my daily life and she certainly doesn’t whisper to me or invade my dreams.

I want her to be a well-rounded person. Really, I do. I just don’t know what she needs. Do I need a better picture of her in my head? Does she need more personality? Perhaps she’s fine and her time simply hasn’t come yet. In other words, the story hasn’t progressed enough for her to be mature.

I know she’s the right girl for the job. She has been from the start, but she’s really got me perplexed. She’s like the mystery guest on a game show who’s still only a silhouette behind a screen. The figure is opaque and the details haven’t emerged.

The worst part is that it has spurred a nagging feeling in my stomach. It’s made me feel like a neglectful parent, one that would rather have an affair with another book at night then get to know her own faceless introverted daughter. That’s because I’ve known my other characters intimately since we all began this journey together, even before they had names.

Why don’t I know who Sadie Thomas is yet?