Alexandra Shostak is one of my favorite online writer friends. Unfortunately she has not yet moved to the South, which is all kinds of tragic. She challenges me, encourages me, and is always up for a philosophical debate. She plays the guitar and, oh yeah, she’s a fabulous writer! So let’s sit back and watch Alexandra’s character, Chase, invade her life. I can’t wait to see what happens!
* * *[I leave the house and walk to my car, intending to go grocery shopping. But when I get to my parking space, the hood of my car is up, and someone is clanking around inside. I step closer, ready to yell, but a blonde head pops up and I recognize my train engineer Chase, from my steampunk story.]
Me: You! I want to talk to you! Get your face out of my engine!
Chase: This automobile device is extremely inefficient. [She continues to clank away.]
Me: Chase, come on, you’re kind of alienating my readers (all 3 of them). I know you’re all pragmatic and scientific and stuff, but… you’re kind of emotionally unavailable.
Chase: You surprise me. This information is not new.
Me: But pragmatism doesn’t mean being romantically frigid.
Chase: I like my romantic endeavors to be simple and quick.
Me: I think we’re confusing love and lust, here.
Chase: Perhaps you are. I am not.
Me: So… simple is the only option. Even for love.
Me: And Jesse is…?
Chase: Decidedly NOT simple.
Me: See! There! Your face twitched.
Chase: It didn’t.
Me: [bangs head on car] Chaaaaaase. Let go of the heart of stone thing!
Chase: You speak like a child. I hope you realize that.
Me: Stop deflecting. Seriously, what do I have to give you to make you be less mean to Jesse?
Chase: Would YOU like to have a conversation with Jesse?
Me: You like him. Come on, I know you do. I wrote it into your character.
Chase: Then write it out again.
Me: No. You refuse to let me develop an entire side of you. Do you want to be flat? Like cardboard? Last time I checked, cardboard couldn’t do much with train engines.
Chase: What is cardboard?
Me: I forgot. Fantasy world. Okay, Chase, really. What do you want from me?
Chase: I want my brother out of danger.
Me: No. I’m not bargaining plot.
Chase: Can you make Jesse shorter than me?
Me: That’s arbitrary. And also no, not unless Anne wants to let me hijack her blog again and post how well THAT conversation will go. OH my goodness, you do this deflecting thing in the manuscript, too, every time Jesse tries to hint that he freaking likes you!
Chase: Because watching someone display an emotion is like looking at a gaping wound.
Me: Ew, gross. [pauses] Hey… wait a sec. You think outward displays of emotion make a person weak, don’t you! Dude what the crap, I did NOT write that into your character.
Chase: Yes you did.
Me: No I d—stop! Chase, emotions don’t make people weak. Maybe I like writing you the way you are because it’s easier. Snappy dialogue instead of emotional digging. But it’s only fun for the reader for a few minutes! Guess what? I’m taking a field trip behind your shields. I’m going to find every single thing you don’t want anyone to know.
Chase: Don’t. Please.
Me: Hah, I see it! Panic. That particular blank facial expression means panic! Hey… um… I just thought of something. You’re not secretly a cliché are you? You don’t pretend to dislike Jesse because he makes you feel things you’re scared of feeling, like in some kind of romcom…
Chase: I do not know what a romcom is, but I am certainly more aware of my own thoughts than you’re insinuating. I am not AFRAID of emotions, I simply choose not to display mine like a child. If you must know, I like half of Jesse. The other half disgusts me.
Me: The criminal half.
Chase: Are you simple-minded in some way? Of course that half.
Me: Watch it or I’ll make sure one of those clockwork monsters eats your hands. [thinks for a moment] Well that one’s easy, because you despise the criminal part of yourself. But where did this extreme sense of right and wrong come from?
Chase: [abruptly] I made your automobile faster.
Chase: It’s faster now.
Me: [inner adrenaline-junkie takes over] How fast is faster?
Chase: [dangling keys] Try it.
Me: [getting in the car] We are not done with this conversation. You could ride with me.
Chase: And trap myself in that metal contraption with you and your questions? No.
Me: [muttering] You’re so mean!
Chase: Your constitution is strong enough to bear it.
Me: Yeah, MINE is. But you’re off-putting to readers. Or you will be, if I ever have any. Because you won’t let them see your heart.
Chase: You are the writer. Present me in a better light. But do not rewrite me.
Me: [instead of snapping, considers] You have a point.
Chase: I know. I usually do.
Me: That little arrogant tick there has got to go.
Chase: Stop trying to rewrite me. I will return home now.
Me: How are you doing that?
Chase: A character you’ve not yet created manipulated the spacetime continuum.
Me: First, how the crap do you know what spacetime is, and second, I don’t write science fiction. [rolls eyes] I think you’re just being difficult again.[But while I was rolling my eyes, Chase took the opportunity to disappear, and I am left with two things: a significantly faster car (but nowhere to try it out unless I want a huge ticket) and the consideration of whether or not I would ever write a book about a quantum physicist. I’m thinking not.]
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LOVED IT! Thanks Alexandra!
If you would like to connect with Alexandra on her blog, you can find it here. And if you are interested in doing a Character Invasion to be posted on this blog, read this post about how to do it and then get in touch with me via the contact page. I’d love to have you!