My characters want to come out into the light…

Every night, the Writing With Style Artists are invited to read something from their work. As you all know, I have signed myself up for tomorrow night because it terrifies me and therefore, it must be done. The past two evenings, I have heard vignettes from people’s novels, some really funny and emotional poetry and a funny short story. Each one had its own natural style that allowed all of us insight into who these authors are and what they hope to bring to the world.

Now that the first two evenings are done, I know that I have to bring my characters out into the public and meet a larger world. I was nervous bringing them to the eight people in my writing group and they were embraced with such joy and interest, that I can only hope that the larger group will also allow them into their imaginations for a little while.

I see today how much these characters really want to breathe in this world. They are a part of me, but they also have a mind of their own and they, one at a time, want their time in the sun. I can hear them arguing in my mind’s eye for attention saying “Pick me, please pick me!” And I only have seven minutes, so I can really only choose one. I am torn between reading the section that I read to the group this morning and choosing another section. I hear one character telling me that she really wants people to hear her story and another, more aggressive one saying that it wasn’t fair that she didn’t get to go and that tomorrow night is her time to shine.

Who knew that my characters could be so competitive. Who knew that I would be sitting there listening to fictional people that I created vying for attention. Attention that I myself want to protect them, and lets face it, myself from possible ridicule and shame. Shame is such an integral part of this. Shame that has no busy being part of it either. Shame that I am tired of feeling and want to let go of for good.

So, I have a feeling that I won’t know which character will speak tomorrow. Perhaps like this morning where it wasn’t planned at all, it will be the one that just decides to step up to the podium, look out on to a new world and say, “Hello, here I am. Here is my story.”

About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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