Writer’s Infidelity

So there I was, minding my own business, hammering away at this story of mine, when I suddenly ran into something.
Something more deadly than writer’s block.
I ran into a new alpha character.
There are times when I’ll wake up with another character in my mind… a character so solid and intriguing that they simply can’t be a beta character (which means that they can’t simply be woven into what I’ve already written)… a character that literally makes my heart feel like it’s a few sizes too big for it’s container. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been officially “in love”, but I’ve danced vigorously on the edge of it, and meeting a new character always feels like that… all tingly and sexy and irrational.

I feel like I’m cheating on my book… you know, the work of fiction that disappeared so traumatically from my computer months ago that I have painstakingly rebuilt, brick by brick.
I’m trying to proceed with my original thought and I can’t. This character, and the backstory that the character came wrapped in, won’t leave me alone.
This character even has a clear face and physical form.
This character is just sitting on my frontal lobes, unsmiling and unblinking, drinking a Coca-Cola.
Yes, this character even has a drink preference.
No matter how hard I try to focus, this character speaks, in a very clear, crisp voice, and interrupts me (like a jerk) while I’m writing.
I do not mean that figuratively.
When I’m writing, I hear voices.
I have considered the possibility that I may not actually be a writer… I may be schizophrenic.

What should I do?!
Do I give in and at least draft out yet another story, establish the surroundings and the secondary characters, in the hopes that this new person will leave me alone long enough to let me finish what I’ve started, or is it no use?
Should I resist the urge to dive into the new and exciting and slog it out with my present effort until I at least have a full first draft completed?
Does this say something about my level of commitment and discipline, if I’m so quickly wooed by something that is entirely in my own mind?!

Love stinks.



5 thoughts on “Writer’s Infidelity

  1. You know this character. They are fully formed in your head. Write down what you know about them, make notes about their background, give a thumbnail sketch of their story, and then get back to the main story. Plenty of time for a fling with this character after you finish your affair with your current work in progress.


  2. Characters and plots are so mean. They just won’t leave you alone. They stalk you inside your brain.
    I’ve found for my own writing process that I have to stick with the thing I’m on and finish it rather than letting the new thing coming up dictate what I work on, because if I don’t stick with the first thing, it will never get finished, and I hate that. When I was about 10, I kept a list of story ideas and stories I’d started, and it was very long. I have reams and reams of notebooks full of never-finished stories from my childhood because I kept jumping about.
    Now I’ve decided that if a story is worth starting and getting involved in, it’s worth finishing and probably worth publishing, so I ignore the others and stay with it. Meanwhile, the others percolate nicely in my brain and develop themselves in the background. I sketch out the ideas that come in a journal but for the most part don’t let them be born until the previous one’s done. Sometimes it’s quite painful.
    But everyone’s writing process is different. I don’t think anyone can tell you what is the best way for you to develop your plots.


  3. I have decided to follow every scrap of excellent advice… even the conflicting bits. In the technical sense, I’ve put the new character on hold (said new character is NOT HAPPY), but I am allowing myself to write down the bits that pop into my head, and creating character/ chapter playlists… so it’s really more of a light dalliance than a full on affair.

    I’m not sure if I should be ashamed of myself for using adultery terms… I probably should.


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