In the short time I’ve been writing, I’ve learned one thing: sometimes you get into your characters’ heads, sometimes they get into yours.
For Jared and Matt and Zach, I thought of finding their voices liking tuning in a radio station – sometimes it took a lot of fiddling with the knobs to get a clear a signal. Angelo was something else entirely. His voice took over half of my bandwidth. Once I found it (or maybe it found me), it was difficult to turn it off. There were even a couple of times when my husband asked me, “Is that you talking, or Angelo?”
And if you’re starting to think I sound unbalanced, all I can say is, I’ve thought the exact same thing.
When I finished A to Z, I had a little idea brewing in the back of my head about Matt, Jared, Zach and Angelo going on a road trip to Vegas. But, I already had my next project lined up: a little sci-fi (or is it fantasy?) project called Cockaigne. I had to make a real effort to turn Angelo off. I had to delete every song in my A to Z playlist from my iPod. It took me weeks to get him down to a manageable volume. He was always there in my head, rolling his eyes, giving me that look, spouting off at inopportune moments, voicing his (rather strong) opinion on just about everything. Once I finally got him under control, I was reluctant to let him speak again. So every once in a while I would ponder the Vegas story, but I would always tell myself that it had to wait until after Cockaigne was done.
So, you may ask, is Cockaigne finished? No. Not even close. I’ve been steadily plugging away at it, and I have made progress, but I’m definitely struggling. I spent last weekend debating whether or not to put it on hold and do something else for a while. I bandied the idea around with my husband, and with a friend. I decided to take a few days off and see what happened.
What happened was this:
Monday morning, my husband whisked me off on a surprise vacation to (you know what’s coming, right?) Vegas! That was all it took for me to do the unthinkable: I let Angelo start talking to me again. My husband and I spent three days walking around Vegas, with my four imaginary friends trailing along behind (good thing my husband finds my borderline psychosis endearing rather than annoying).
So here I am, home again. I’m sitting in front of my computer. And I’m trying to decide: Cockaigne, or Vegas? Where would you rather go?