The ‘Goo Goo Dolls’ said it in their song ‘Iris’. “When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am” which I think for Charlotte and I has been a pretty apt statement this week. We’ve said it more than once before that we’re fond of breaking things, a little too fond if I’m honest. Putting them back together again? Well … that’s the art that we’re still trying to work with and don’t always succeed.
We’ve had a week this week where we have nearly, very nearly, broken our most important characters. Characters who without which we wouldn’t have a story. We came within a hares breath of doing this without even realising what we were doing – which is perhaps the scary thing. If it wasn’t for one of our characters essentially going to us “THIS ISN’T ME. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME” we would have broken them.
And we wouldn’t have a story.
We would have had to start over from scratch, perhaps taking our story back to where we were 10 years ago when we had our first draft of our story done. And that wasn’t something either of us wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, our first draft wasn’t horrible. It just wasn’t what we have now, it didn’t have the world building or the creation or anything else in it … but it was a start.
So we’re lucky that we have characters that are willing to go ‘erm, excuse me just because you can break me doesn’t mean you should. This isn’t who I am, please get to know me and understand me’ and Charlotte and I have a moment of wide eyed comprehension and the figurative light bulb going off over the top of our heads as we realise what we very nearly did …
What it has done, however, is to spur us on. We’ve had a huge kick into touch and we’ve realised that we need to get a hold of ourselves, shake ourselves and stop breaking things! We’ve started constructing our timeline again, getting our world sorted and ordered around our central characters … rather than trying to break them.
In short, we have realised that just because everything’s made to be broken we want to know who our characters are. It’s a lesson we’ve learned and we’re both very aware that if we make this sort of mistake again … our characters aren’t going to hang around to teach us the lesson we need.
We’re on our last warning – which seems a strange thing to say about our characters, but any writer knows it’s not us who writes the story, but the characters we create. And without them? We have nothing. We’ll be sitting here, twiddling our thumbs and watching as the tumbleweed whirls past and an eerie wind blows in the ghost town that our minds will become …
We don’t want to see that ghost town coming into play, so we’re going to make damn sure we keep ourselves on the straight and narrow this time!