What do you do when a character creeps into your writing room, a character who isn’t part of the WIP you’re required to send to your advisor/agent/editor? Do you trust the Muse and write whatever this character whispers in your ear? Do you run away from her and focus on your deadline? Or, do you work on both? Do you ignore your hygiene and your dog and career, and life, in general (sorry for the melodrama) and write what the Muse provides because that fire burning in your soul, the one that’s smoldering in your fingertips, won’t extinguish any other way? You’re the story’s agent. You must give her a voice, yet the other WIP, and its revisions and its deadline aren’t as appealing, not as fun, and is due real soon.
Project Run Away
Any advice? Do y’all work on both WIPs? Run away from one? Or, in the words of the great Tim Gunn: “Do you make it work?”
Good topic! I've had that happen to me recently with "Evelyn of the Sea" and this is what went down. I drew a quick sketch of her and jotted down a page full of tidbits, then I put it aside to focus on my "homework". Still in my spare brain creativity I would think about Evelyn and where she should go and how she handles trouble. This is how I know she'll be a great character because I can't get her out of my mind. By the time my edits and dew dates are over with, I'll have the whole plot outline in my head, ready to go.
Yes, write down whatever you need to to keep the character alive. But be aware of the Procrastination Goddess who lures you away to newer, more brilliant material right in the middle of a deep revision – the hard stuff. The new story is like a new boyfriend – this one will be perfect. Not. Every story, every relationship has its challenges that bring us to deeper ground.
Wow, Phyllis! Do you find that the "plot" hinders you once you begin writing her story? I ask this because I write to find out what the character wants with me to begin with. So your experience interests me.
And Claire, that's great advice; to write just enough. Though, I probably need that Procrastination Goddess every now and then. I don't know how to take a break. And the new material ain't brilliant, just a pest is all (one I'm thankful for, though). Seems she won't give me any rest. :0)