Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: J.L. Campbell

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Carol for letting me crash here at the Tiki Hut. I finished a marathon round of editing last week and took some well-deserved time off. Today, I’ll get moving on the gazillionth edit.

I throw my monster handbag in the next chair. On the table, I plunk a tall glass of lime squash - sweat beads and all - and a bowl of cashew. Then I set up my laptop, open the file and get to work. A few paragraphs in, I make a change to a not-so-clear sentence. While I ponder whether or not to keep the next paragraph, I take a sip of the cool, tangy brew and chew a few nuts.

A smudge on the endless blue waves catches my eye.

I squint at the object that’s now much closer. It’s one of those glass-bottom boats. As it draws near, I make out a woman wearing a sundress, her hair in a semi-tamed afro puff. The guy she’s with is leaning toward her, casting a glance around him, as though expecting the unexpected. The way she’s gazing at the bottom of the boat, you’d think her life depends on it. The fish underneath must feel like they’re in a glass bowl under a spotlight. The man stares at her, his head cocked to one side.

But wait, I know this couple. Where from? I think for a bit and it dawns on me. They’re Phillip and Corra, from Grudge, the novel I haven’t looked at for something like six months. I blink, and they disappear, but not before sending me a reproachful look. They’re lonely and getting an attitude. I can tell.

Time to get back to the novel on the screen. The sooner I concentrate on this WiP, the faster I’ll get back to my neglected couple. Next thing I know something terrible will happen to them and I’m not there, fingers whipping over the keyboard, to get them out of danger.

Focus, I tell myself. Corra and Phillip will wait.

     

Campbell is the author of Contraband and Dissolution.

J.L. Campbell is always on the lookout for story making material. She loves company and can usually be found lollygagging on her blog at http://thecharacterdepot.blogspot.com Her website is at http://joylcampbell.com Twitter handle is @JL_Campbell.







39 comments:

Isis Rushdan said...

Is it great or scary when our characters come to life and demand attention? I'm voting for fantastic. It means our muse is operating on all cylinders, fully juiced on java and pumping inspirational vibes. Love it.

Mason Canyon said...

J.L., I love how an author talks of their characters as if they are real. When you do that, then the story comes to life for us (the reader) as well. Type faster, sounds like an interesting story. Best of luck.

Carol, thanks for the introduction to J.L.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Stephen Tremp said...

HI J.L., I've been to your blog before, just not recently. Good luck with your WIP and your books!

Clarissa Draper said...

I hate when characters pop into my life and tell me they're waiting for me to hurry up. But, sadly, it's the life of a writer...

Linda G. said...

Oh, I love glass-bottom boats! And I think you better pay attention to Phillip and Cora. Sounds like they're speaking you, J.L.

J.L. Campbell said...

Isis, scary definitely. These two have been calling for a while.

Thanks for the encouragement, Mason. I do need to get on this. It's supposed to be the stand alone sequel to my debut novel.

Thanks, Stephen. I do need some good luck, not to mention discipline.

Clarissa, you're so right. Our characters are never short on demands.

Linda, oh yes, I should pay attention to these two, sooner rather than later.

Carol, thanks for letting me hang out with your pals!

BECKY said...

Hi JL! What a great post. Since I don't write fiction (hardly ever), I don't have characters popping into my head, but I do have my own stories doing that! Just yesterday morning I woke up at something like 4:30am and without even Consciously thinking about a dialogue contest I wanted to enter, the conversation began in my mind! Being a write is awesome, isn't it??!!

Carol Kilgore said...

Keep having fun. I'm outta here in a bit for a haircut, but I'll check back this afternoon.

LR said...

I'd never heard of a lime squash before. Sounds good. ;)

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Carol, thanks for having J.L. today.

Hi J.L., that was a great post. I love how your two neglected characters are haunting you! lol.

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

Hi Carol, glad I'm not the only one who talks about their characters as if they were real.(; Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

Maryann Miller said...

Enjoyed the post. One of the best parts of being a writer is the fact that the characters become so real. That is until they bug you to death or start taking the story down a path you don't want to go.

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks, Becky. It is the most amazing calling. Just a fragment of a thought or a conversation can set me on a path to that next story.

Carol, we will!

Oh, yeah. Lime squash is lovely on a summer's day.

Doralynn, thanks for dropping by. You know how pesky these characters get when they're left to their own devices for too long.

Andrea, imagine what the ordinary people would think if they interrupted a conversation between writer and non-visible character?

Claudia Del Balso said...

Hi Carol,
It was nice of you to have JL Campbell as a guest. I'll hop over her website and blog to check it out ;)

Julie said...

Great post, JL! Makes me want to learn more about Phillip and Cora. Their reproachful attitude with you made me smile. Best of luck finishing up the current WIP!

Janet, said...

I enjoyed the post. Good luck on your WIP!

L.G.Smith said...

It's true! Those darn characters start making demands if neglected too long. :) Just keeping writing, just keep writing...

J.L. Campbell said...

I'm feeling quite welcome here Claudia, thanks!

Thanks, Julie. I'm on vacation next week, so hopefully, I'll finish all I need to and get to writing again.

Thanks, Janet.

L.G. - I need to remember that. Just keep writing. :)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I know all about neglected characters developing attitudes! Ha! Thanks for the laugh and the wonderful post. And good luck with the WIP.

Randy said...

So cool the way your characters are calling for you! And I love that they depend on you to get them out of trouble (like it's not your fault they're in trouble in the first place--wink, wink). Great job. :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Cynthia, the good thing is that the others waiting in line haven't started picketing yet. Thanks for the good wishes.

Randy, I'm a bad, neglectful writer. Oh yeah, Corra and Phillip know I run the show - even if they do try and get ahead of themselves. Thanks for commenting.

J.L. Campbell said...

Randy, in the event that you do come back, I was trying to stop by your blog, but your name and icon won't allow me.

irishoma said...

I enjoyed this guest post. This morning while I was taking a walk, one of my characters popped up and wouldn't stop talking. Wish I had a tape recorder to get down everything she said but I'll have to rely on my memory.
Donna v.

LynNerd said...

J.L., sounds like you needed a break after all that hard work. A day on the beach sounds wonderful. Under the Tiki Hut! How perfect! I love the look of Carol's blog. How cool that your characters visited you. They might have given you an attitude, but you know they really love you and miss you. Hope you can get back to them soon! And I hope your weather cools down soon, too!

Michelle Fayard said...

It’s like having a houseful of jealous children; you can’t spend some quality time with one without another clamoring for attention. :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Donna. It's good exercise for a writer's brain to be able to remember all the good stuff that pops up when you can't write anything down.

Lyn,

Carol's blog does have a wonderfully relaxed feel to it. I could look at that header all day. I have six chapters of this one written and just have not been able to write anything more. The last excuse I made was that I didn't know the two MC's well enough, but now I have kind of run out of excuses other than editing other stuff. Still, I better get back to them before they fall out of like with each other. Got some rain today, but it's still way up there temperature wise. Thanks for coming over!

Michelle, that's exactly what it is. I have another two - Bradleigh (yes, that spelling is weird) and Sereta - who also appear now and then asking what's up with me not writing anything else since forever. Thanks for coming by!

LynNerd said...

Hi Carol! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for following. You made my day! Woo hoo!

Talli Roland said...

Hi JL! Don't you love it when your characters become like real people? Such a fantastic feeling!

Great post!

(Hi Carol!)

J.L. Campbell said...

Talli, yes, it makes writing their story much more interesting.

Deborah Walker said...

Ah, that's great. You've really pulled me there. Great writing J.L.

Lydia K said...

So cool to be visited by your characters! Hope you had fun at the Tiki Hut!

lbdiamond said...

Great post! it's so hard when characters from a different novel clamor for attention.

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for stopping in, Deborah!

Lydia, yes, it was fun being here. A new and different experience.

lbd, I've kinda-sorta learned how to prioritize. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I enjoyed meeting all the new commenters here. I hope you'll come back and visit here again.

Thanks so much, J.L., for a great post and for being a wonderful guest blogger.

J.L. Campbell said...

Many thanks to you, Carol for having me. I had a whale of a time Under the Tiki Hut.

Tami Brothers said...

Sounds like a great story. Can't wait to read it.

Carol Kilgore said...

I think her story sounds great, too :)

Ciara said...

Great post. Sorry I'm late to the party. I was hit with a virus. All is well now. Some characters can really get pushy. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Ugh. No fun. Glad all is well.