In the course of writing new characters always pop into existence. A neighbor who has never emerges from their house opens the front door and wham, becomes an important secondary character. The one liner mailman worms his way into his own storyline. A gallery owner created to supply comic relief evolves to the point where he’s special enough to deserve a spin off story. Those good events always take place in a story.
In my cluttered mind plots pop into existence on a regular basis. Fleeting plotlines needing major work received a polite one line work-up and might, if they’re lucky, emerged in another decade. Serious plotlines kind enough to arrive complete with a title, tentative beginning and end deserve an outline to keep the story alive. Some plots are generous enough to supply logical chapter breaks. They own a far finer chance of future development, like before next decade.
But what do you do with a character who struts across the mental stage sans plot or storyline? The character who snap, has a name and location but nothing more? The character not vetted by your muse?
One such pushy little bugger just arrived in my mind. Patrice. The bold man introduced himself. He owns a bar/cafe, likes black leather pants paired with red stiletto boots and fills in as a waiter. Patrice is proud of his round beer belly and seldom wears a shirt at the bar. Hard belly pinches turn him on. He’s swarthy, black-haired, green-eyed and handy with a switchblade. He’s hiding a tattoo. Judging by his attitude I know where he’s inked.
Patrice keeps haunting me. He struts across the dimly lit bar carrying a menu to a man sitting at a back table. At least this character hasn’t named himself. The waiting man hasn’t even ordered food since Patrice never reaches his table. Patrice keeps walking across but never arriving.
He performs this act on a regular basis. I often “write” myself to sleep, trying to work out a scene or where a story might go next. Just before deep sleep Patrice insists on strutting across the bar with his menu.
I try to ignore him. Many other words need attention. Needy characters already wait in line for development.
Patrice is determined to strut to the line’s front. Should I let him deliver the menu to the man at the back table? Damn, you know the second the menu slides into that man’s hand, the bold dude will name himself.
They’ll gang up on me. They’ll line jump. Or perhaps, just perhaps, they have a place in one of my many plots in progress. Yes, I believe they do. The concept just bonked me between the eyes. I know where they fit in.
Do you think they’ll be happy with my promise?
Cross your fingers. I do worry about Patrice’s switchblade skills.
If he struts tonight I’ll have my answer.