Another day spent with imaginary friends

Writing fiction is like playing with imaginary friends. You invent a bunch of personalities and then set them on a path of action and adventure. None of it is real, yet they live and breathe, first in the author’s heart and mind – and later (if he or she has done the job well) in the reader’s.

The characters we create become almost as vivid as friends and family in the real world. I have to confess to falling hard for one male protagonist I once wrote about… probably the less said about that the better!
The reason I mention this is because I have just begun the sequel to my first (and only) novel, Beginner’s Guide to Burb-Watching. It feels right and good – like coming home on a Friday night after a long, tough week at the office.

The characters I created some eighteen months ago now feel like old friends – and in this volume, they’ll be joined by a host of new ones. In my new book, I want to do my characters justice, bringing them to life on the page once more. So I’ll start them off, guiding them firmly at first, before giving them a little freedom to roam independently. For me personally, it is always a magic moment when they begin to breathe on their own.

Delaying the inevitable?

Rodney small res
Stephanie Chapman Photography

A few days ago my little dog had surgery to remove the tumour from his neck.  We went this route because a scan and a couple of biopsies revealed that the cancer was contained; our very skilled vet Tim thought it well worth a shot.  Poor Rodney looks as though a pirate has attacked him with a cutlass – now he’s sore, itchy, sleepy and confused.  And quite possibly cancer-free.

Last night was a sleepless one as I watched him pace, keen, and scratch in great discomfort.  It was hard to bear.

Today, after a steroid shot and a teensy dose of diazepam, he’s comfy and I am relieved.  But at some point, the big hill will rise up to meet us and the buck stops with me.  Please god, let me be strong enough to put Rodney first when the time is right.  Because sometimes, actions speak louder than words.