As a writer, I could talk all day about the books I am currently mulling over at the moment.
Whether its books that are staring at me from the vast miniature skyline of words that linger in piles beside my bed, threatening to spill over and create an ocean of stories. Or, the other kind of books, the books you are currently writing and editing that keep you up at night, whispering in your ear such songs as ‘What about not killing the Dad and going for Grandma instead’ or ‘Can you change my hair colour to red, it fits better with my axe’. A never-ending voice explosion in my head.
It’s a sleepy writer’s nightmare to have thoughts that follow you to bed and tuck you in at night refusing to let you fall asleep until you have listened to what they are saying and either scribbled it in the tea-stained notebook beside your bed (a great idea at the time but illegible in the morning) or if they are really loud, managing to get you up, turn your laptop on and make you edit said part before finally leaving you in peace. I had one of those nights last night.
Along came Louis.
Louis is the protagonist in the book I am currently editing for wee people under 8 (ish). He is determined, noisy and unwilling to give me an iota of rest. He is also a figment of my imagination so I can make HIM go to sleep whenever I like.
But that would be wrong, wouldn’t it? I couldn’t silence the main character’s voice in my head, could I?
For me, I feel that once you start to write a book you should get sucked in, much like small toes in pug holes that really should know better. You start to picture the characters in your mind, the colour of their hair, how tall they are, whether they are human/alien/animal, whether they like marmite or not, the list is endless but completely necessary.
For me to continue with a story that has reared its head, usually when I am working on something not even remotely related, and ‘disturbed my slumber’ (to be said in voice of lion from Disney’s Aladdin – very creepy) I need to be able to picture the main character as if he was standing in front of me. I need to look into his face and see for myself the colour of his eyes, cheeky grin and smattering of freckles as I try to map out the journey that lies ahead of him. Only then can I continue on with this new found exertion that has invaded my mind.
Louis came bounding into my life while I was writing a picture book about trolls. I have no idea why but the rest, as they say, is history. He is part of the family now.
So, if we ever meet and you ask me what I am working on at the moment, there’s a good chance that I will not tell you the name of the book first, I will say one name and then regale you with their story.
Be it Bob, Jodie, Ben or Louis. They need to be heard or we will not get any sleep.