Tara Nanayakkara

Knowing the Write People

The hardest aspect of starting page one of a new novel is getting to know a whole new set of characters. I sit at my computer monitor, staring at the screen hoping the words will write themselves. Now the problem I am having is this. After months of developing the characters of Cardboard Dreams and making edits to Dawning of a New Garden, I find myself somewhat bereft.

I spent so much time with these people, here alone in my home office. My husband is at work, my children are at school so these characters are my company. I suppose you could call them my co workers because we work as a team to put the story together.  They are real people to me.  Apparently they are real people to my daughter as well.  When she read Cardboard Dreams, she freely admitted that she fell in love with Jake.

"Mama, he is sooo hot," she enthused.

I get attached to all my characters, even the ones who aren't so easy to like. Strangely enough, those are among the ones I actually feel sorry for by the end of the story.

I can't even write to the same music I listened to during the creation of previous novels. I have to start with new selections because they will provide the soundtrack for new characters and new story-lines.

Now here I am once again, starting at square one ... well actually Chapter two. I've already made in-roads into Patchwork Family but the going is never easy for the first few chapters.  Usually it's only once I hit Chapter five or six when I feel I know my people.  By then the music that will guide me through the writing process will be firmly entrenched in my mind. It's how it works with every book I've ever written. I'm forever transported back into the pages of Priya's World when I hear Josh Groban's Mi Mancherai.  Yiruma's Kiss the Rain has somehow turned into Suresh's Song in Dawning of a New Garden and then there's Jake in Cardboard Dreams and a beautiful selection by Joseph William, Se Si Perde un Amore.

Most people will listen to the music and enjoy it for what it is. I will hear the same music and perceive it as an artist views his paints and canvases. Only in my case, I will use the proverbial pen to continue to create my people and tell their stories.