Conversations with My Inner Critic, Part One

Yesterday, I finally completed the first draft of Manna, my newest play. Time to party! WOOOO…

…OOO…

…ooo…

…egh…

Only not really. Why didn’t I feel like celebrating, even though I finally managed to finish the draft that I’d been struggling with for a really long time? By the time I got to the dramatic, emotional final scenes, I was exhausted, tired and frustrated. Why? After saving the draft and stepping away from my computer, it finally hit me. My inner critic. This was the first time I could see him, in my mind, staring judgmentally into my soul. Yes, him. My mind often personifies inanimate objects and apparently, voices inside my head.

So, my inner critic looks like this:

I know he’s been with me ever since I started writing, but this time he was exceptionally loud. I’ll walk you through one of our conversations. Maybe it can help some of you – at least it helps to get it out of my system:

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Tell Me About the Character Who Won’t Leave

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One of my favourite feelings when I write is realising that a character has won my heart for good. From the moment their story starts unfolding, I know they won’t leave my side. Ever. And I don’t want them to. Obviously every character is memorable in their own way, but some just have that extra something special.

I’ll tell you a little about one such character. Share your stories in the comments or on your blog and leave me a link. I’d love to fall in love with your characters as well!

So, Kristiina.
That’s her name. She lives in a small cottage in the forest with her husband and 9-year-old son.
She was born in the forest. She lived there until she fell in love and became human.
She knows magic. She knows of the wonders that exist around us, of the creatures and spirits that live everywhere.
She’s strong; she’s fragile; she’s passionate. She makes mistakes, some of them almost unforgivable.
When I first wrote about her, the story was meant to focus on her son. He never lives past 9, but continues to haunt a big farmhouse near his home.
The story was supposed to be about him, the boy in the wall. Then I started seeing that how he got there is more important.
I think she has everything to do with that.

And that’s how Kristiina took over the entire first draft.

I think one of the reasons why she’s still in my mind is that I haven’t finished her story. But I find it unlikely that she’ll ever leave. She’s like a mysterious friend, and I get to know her more every day. I don’t want her to leave.

Which character won’t leave you? Who keeps reminding you of their existence? Which of your characters do you turn to for advice, and whose face do you keep seeing in the crowd? Share your successes! Why do you think they’ve stayed in your mind?

Love,
Aino.