A Conversation With My Characters

ME: (typing away)

STELLA: What are you doing?

ME: (clutches heart) Oh my god, Stella, I told you not to do that again!

STELLA: What? Suddenly leap out at you from the novel you're revising?

ME: (weakly) That was the general idea, yes.

STELLA: Well, you're making some huge changes, so everyone's all shaken up in there. I had to come out and say something. (peers at computer screen) So what's all this about a...

ME: Spoiler alert.

STELLA: And did you decide to kill...

ME: Spoiler alert!

STELLA: What about that scene where she's got the knife...

ME: SPOILER ALERT! Stop trying to ruin the ending!

STELLA: (crosses arms over chest) Okay, fine. But you owe me an explanation. Why are you changing the entire ending of ELEGY?

ME: First of all, I don't owe you anything. You are a figment of my imagination, and if I wanted to, I could do this. (finger hovers over Delete key)

STELLA: You wouldn't dare. I'm too young and beautiful and talented to die.

ME: (calmly deletes an entire page)


ME: (hits Ctrl+Z to undo) Get a grip, you know I need that page. And I'm not changing the ending. Not for sure, anyway.

STELLA: (glares, points at screen) Then what is this all about?

ME: This alternate ending's just for fun. Half of my CPs liked ELEGY's original ending, but the other half didn't, so I want to see what happens when I end it the way they think it should have ended.

STELLA: But why? You love the original ending, too.

ME: That's... I... (defensively) I'm open to feedback. And how would you know?

STELLA: (eyeroll) From the tear that rolled down your cheek when you reread it, you cheesy sap.

ME: Why are you so upset about me changing the ending, anyway? I don't have to change anything about you directly. (pauses) Wait a sec. That's the problem, isn't it?

STELLA: (loftily) I haven't the faintest clue what you mean.

ME: You want everything to be about you, and you're mad that I'm focusing on this other character.

STELLA: Everything is about me. I am ELEGY. Just like Theseus over there is THREADS, aren't you, Theseus?

THESEUS: (from behind) Well... yeah.

ME: (clutches heart) Okay, moving forward, you guys are officially BANNED from jumping out of your stories.

THESEUS: (raises eyebrow) I killed the Minotaur, I am a prince of Athens, and I may or may not be the son of Poseidon. Also, I am quite pretty. So I believe I can do whatever I please. (looks casually at the screen) Yes, I see what you mean, Stella. She totally cannot write.

ME: (angrily) Why are all of my characters egomaniacs?

NOELLE: Hey! I'm not an egomaniac! I am friendly and adorable, and I have a magic wand and great taste in shoes. (eyes Theseus) And men.

ME: He's too old for you.

NOELLE: No, he's not!

ME: PPP is a middle-grade novel. You are fourteen. So yes, he's too old for you.

THESEUS: (flexes)

LAUREN: Okay, since we're all jumping out of our stories, I would like to say that I am not an egomaniac, either. (looks thoughtfully at me) In fact, I'm like you. I think I am you.

ME: (blushes) RICE FLOWER MEMOIRS was my first novel, okay?! Self-insertion is totally allowed just that one time.

STELLA: Why is this suddenly not all about me? (stomps foot) We are talking about my story, and my character arc, so all of you guys can get lost.

LAUREN: Let's take that ego down a few billion notches.

STELLA: Excuuuse me for being self-confident. I don't see anyone else in this room who opened a Carnegie Hall concert at age thirteen.

NOELLE: I fought a band of evil goblins at age fourteen. Does that count?

THESEUS: I traveled, barefoot, from Troezen to Athens and slew a bunch of monsters along the way.

LAUREN: And I was in high school? And, uh, I wrote a novel?

STELLA: (scoffs) My point is, all of you guys are on the shelf, and this conversation is about ME and MY ending. And I want to know why it's changing.

ME: Because I said so.

ALL CHARACTERS: (staring blankly)

ME: I know you guys think you run the show because I let you do random stuff sometimes, and I agree to your crazy schemes here and there, but get this through your hopefully three-dimensional, hopefully well-fleshed out heads: I AM THE BOSS. The big cheese. La jefe. Lauren, if I want to shamelessly write myself into a story under the guise of an original character, i.e. YOU, I'll do it.

LAUREN: (nods meekly)

ME: Theseus, if I want to write in a gory injury for you - maybe as a punishment for just abandoning Ariadne like that - I'll do it. Capiche?

THESEUS: (flexes again)

NOELLE: (gazes at his biceps)

ME: He's still too old for you.

NOELLE: Oh, fine, you grump!

ME: And if I wanted to write ALL of you into one ridiculous mash-up of a novel, in which fairy godmothers must use haunted violins to battle a secret army of Minotaurs in Vietnam, I'LL DO IT. OKAY?

STELLA: (mutters something that sounds like "Look who's an egomaniac now")

ME: Okay, now that we're clear on that, I have to get back to work. My pitch and pages are going up for Pitch Wars soon, and I have to make sure ELEGY's in good shape.

ALL CHARACTERS: Yeah, yeah...

THESEUS: So... that mash-up novel? Is that really happening? And can I be the main fairy godmother?

ME: (turns off computer)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My characters start talking to me like that and I wouldn't ever turn on my computer again!
And I don't think you're a nut job.

Tiana Smith said...

Loved this :) Good luck with the ending!

akossiwaketoglo.com said...

lol lol lol
I really enjoyed this.
Good luck with revisions and happy writing! :)


Kate Bucklein said...

This is BRILLIANT. (And now I want to go read ELEGY. *looks from hw, to ELEGY, to hw, then back to ELEGY* WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?)

Michelle Wallace said...

That's it! Put your foot down!
Show them who's boss! LOL
Great post!
Writer In Transit

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Ha, ha, ha ... absolutely wonderful! I wrote a post like this once, where I went on a road trip with my characters.

They totally tricked me out of the driver's seat and took off with the car ...

Krispy said...

Haha, enjoyed this! Good luck with your characters and with Pitch Wars!!

Nicole said...

Hahaha - this was hilarious. Happens to me all the time too. :)

workofheart09 said...

This is adorable -- made me smile from beginning to end. :) Good luck with the alternate ending!

DL Hammons said...

Julie's gone off her meds again! :)

Meika Usher said...

Tee hee. This was adorably and amusing. Those characters sure do think they can rule it all, don't they?

Liz Blocker said...

This is hilarious. I LOVE Theseus flexing at every given opportunity :) And yeah, I hear you - I also have these cray moments when my characters leap out of stories and refuse to cooperate with me.

LD Masterson said...

You've been drinking the leftover holiday eggnog again, haven't you?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Don't you love it when the characters try to take over?

Margo Berendsen said...

Since I remember Stella quite well, this totally cracked me up. She wasn quite the fun egomaniac, but seriously right now I'm in love with Theseus. When do I get to read more about him?

Margo Berendsen said...

Since I remember Stella quite well, this totally cracked me up. She wasn quite the fun egomaniac, but seriously right now I'm in love with Theseus. When do I get to read more about him?

Julie Dao said...

Alex: Aw, thanks!

Tiana: Thank you :)

Akoss: Hahaha, thanks so much!

Kate: LOL. And I hope you liked the beginning :)

Michelle: Oh, the foot has been put down! ;)

Dianne: OMG. Can you imagine if I went on a road trip with these characters? Love that idea!!!

Krispy: Thank you!!

Nicole: I'm glad it's not just me!

Shari: Thank you so much <3


Meika: They certainly do, but I run the show! (I think)

Liz: Oh, Theseus. Always so eager to show off :)

LD: No....why? *hides eggnog carton*

L. Diane: Sometimes! Haha :)

Margo: Aw, thank you! Maybe one day when his story is much better...

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