Quiet Characters

I am a mess of words today, darlings. I apologize. My mind has been wandering for several days now, which has led to adventures and loss of sleep and procrastinating on my midterm projects. In my muddled state, words are failing me. Even the simplest of words are causing me trouble. Let me explain (as much as I can).

I’m not working too far ahead on my serial because I want it to be raw when I write it. However, I have tried to at least plot out certain points of Annabeth’s life, and there’s this one piece that’s giving me trouble. All I need is for Annabeth’s second husband to tell me what his name is and I’ll be satisfied. However, it turns out that Annabeth’s second husband has a coy streak and is withholding his name, likely for some sort of ransom.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, but last time the man withholding his name was real. He was a shopkeeper with a personality that filled every room he walked into. My brother, sister, and I tried to find out his name, but he wouldn’t tell us. We guessed about a dozen names, the second of which turned out to be his middle name. We never guessed his first name, and he remained a mystery.

Two weeks later, my sister and I were in the store and a delivery driver dropped off a shipment of books. He greeted the shopkeeper and asked for his name. The shopkeeper obliged. I did a spastic sort of happy dance in an alcove of the store. My sister and I walked away that day knowing Rumpelstiltskin’s name.

I suppose I should be patient in this case, as I was a year ago in learning the shopkeeper’s real name. However, I would really like to know his name before I get so far into Annabeth’s diaries that she only refers to him as,”he” or worse, “number 2.”

Don’t let this confusion fool you into thinking I have no idea why this character is being so stingy with his name. I know exactly why: he’s irritated with me over a plot point in another story. Once that plot point is worked through, he’ll come around and start to consider letting me in on his secrets.

If this seems crazy to you–a character, a figment of my imagination withholding vital information from me–then I have so much to teach you about the art of writing.

Have you ever had a character in your writing, in your drawing, in your music, refuse to reveal itself to you?


2 thoughts on “Quiet Characters

  1. Working through this right now with my thesis, actually. I have five songs ready, except three of those won’t divulge their final sections (the songs are split into different sections–like movements in classical, but not long enough to be movements)… It never helps to try and force them either–it just makes them laugh at you, and the hole you’re digging only gets deeper. 😛

    Do you agree with the “Names give you power” sentiment (Patrick Rothfuss’s example with Kvothe and Elodin comes to mind)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with the sentiment of names holding power, although I would never have the audacity to make someone walk off a roof under the impression that I would save him with said power.

      Ahem. Raquel tried to help me bully my character into revealing his name. It didn’t work until tonight at dinner she said something and it triggered dialogue. I grabbed Margaret’s pen and a napkin and wrote the dialogue out until a different character revealed his name. Now I know his name . . . and I know that I can never use it for exactly the reason that it is a name that holds too much power. I’ll figure out how to deal with it later.

      Liked by 1 person

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