unexpected inspiration

I have some new characters tumbling around in my mind. (This may be the last thing I need right now with the end of the school year, trying to finish Celebrating Writers (Christi had her baby!), and finalizing my keynote.) Still, I have some characters tumbling around and I should be thankful. One of the characters is a teenage girl. She loves to read, and her favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. (This might be ironic for those who know me and my feelings regarding the “cannon” in high school English.)
Naturally I cracked open the book to reread it. (Well, technically I clicked it open on my Kindle app.) I’ve found myself highlighting passages (like this one) about Mr. Darcy that are revealing insights into the second character tumbling in my mind — a guy who has moved in with the girl character’s family to complete his senior year.
I’ve always been intrigued by books that follow another story from classic literature or mythology. I’m a little bit giddy to see the very organic nature of the story development. It’s not forced or fake. I’m simply following the character. I even ordered a copy of the book in order to read it outside this summer. The character who is pushing on the edges of my mind loves reading outside around the farm. I want to read Pride and Prejudice outside on a quilt under a tree on a breezy summer day. The Kindle version just isn’t going to do the trick for this kind of “research.”
For now, I’m going to leave this character and her book right here. I need to focus my attention on professional writing — the book and keynote and articles. When I make progress on one of those projects, I’ll be rewarded with time to spend with my nose in a book or scribbling in my writer’s notebook.

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  1. Don't you just love this open up to a new character feeling? Let her sit in your mind a little while, but not too long. I worked on my book, Blessen, for over two years. At one time I left her to do my National Boards. I was afraid I would lose her voice, but she is a part of me, like my own child. She is still speaking to me, so there may be another book.
    Your teenaged girl sounds so romantic and idealistic. I am intrigued to see where she will take you. What is her name? Do you work with a writing group? My circle of writing friends have been invaluable. All my best to you.

  2. It sounds wonderful to set yourself up to BE in the setting as much as you can, Ruth. I imagine you are continuing to think about this young woman and young man in one part of your mind while you finish your professional book & presentation for the All-Write. Always with you, right? Thanks for sharing your process.

  3. I can't wait to hear more about where the writing takes you. Like Linda, I agree that putting yourself in the same setting as this characters should provide wonderful connections for you. Best of luck with this!