That's not to say my characters aren't “real” to me. Alexandra is sometimes frighteningly real inside my head – I know her better than I know many non-fictitious acquaintances. I know exactly what she looks like (the artwork I and other people have created comes close, but I have never been able to perfectly capture the mental picture in my head on screen or paper), I know what her voice sounds like, and I know all kinds of details about her that will probably never appear in my stories, because they aren't relevant. Like her favorite color (yellow), and her very first fight with Billy Boggleston (he tried to cut in line for the swings). I know that she read Twilight, and she thought that Edward Cullen was creepy, and she wished the bad-guy vampires would just eat Bella.
But anyway, Alexandra doesn't talk to me (which is a good thing, because I don't think she'd be very happy with me), or decide what she's going to do in her story.
That doesn't mean that my story meticulously follows the outline I've written, though. Because that's where writing discipline comes in – and I don't have a lot. Talent? Maybe. Discipline? Not so much. My chapters tend to multiply, like greedy amoebas swelling larger and larger as I feed them more words, until the one chapter I planned splits into two.
And for the first time, I have a new character who thinks she has a mind of her own: running amok, chewing up scenery, and demanding more lines every time she shows up. Now, she's still doing what she's told – she has a role to play in the story, and it's not changing. But she needs to behave and go back into my little mental construct-box and stop stealing word-count.
So, besides that little bit of teaser, do I have anything else for you? Why, yes, I do:
In The Nursery - Ground Loop
As I work my way towards the climax of AQATDR (no, sorry, I'm not close yet), this is the song that plays in my head, over and over.
I know you probably could care less about my musical tastes, so I have something even better: fan art!
First, some illustrations by Tim the Enchanter, of Mugglenet Fan Fiction.
Why is Alexandra wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt? I have no idea – I don't ask where Tim gets his ideas.
From Chapter 4 of Alexandra Quick and the Thorn Circle.
She saw something that resembled a double-decker Formula One race car, and a huge black sedan with a sinister grill that actually snarled at cars in front of it, and as Ms. Grimm finally left the magical highway, they passed a bus that looked almost normal except that it had seven wheels.
Archie and Charlie
From Chapter 7 of Alexandra Quick and the Thorn Circle.
“Same damn thing,” said Archie. “They're just noisy pests. Good for nothing but target practice.”
This picture of Alexandra, looking a little bit older (perhaps 14 or so) is by Bellanca, also of MNFF:
And finally, I guess I'll share one more picture I did myself, at the start of the summer. This is a preliminary rough draft of the cover of AQATDR, using an image you've seen before:
There are some more elements to add, and the lighting needs work. The shirt will cover her belly in the final version.