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Guest Blogger Carole Gill

July 14, 2010

The writing bug bit when Carole was 8 years old and she penned her first story about Martians taking all of earth’s children back with them to Mars. It was a promising start but then life got in the way.

There were after all two universities, nursing school and acting school to drop out of.

Former executive secretary and frustrated writer, Carole Gill is a New Yorker who lives in Yorkshire. In 2000 she was selected by North West Playwrights of England for further development. It was an enriching experience, but she found she preferred short story and novel-writing.

When her angelic husband suggested she try her hand at writing full-time, she did. Within a year she was published in a few sci-fi and horror anthologies.

She has penned a crime novel and a romance novel—but nothing in the horror genre which she prefers. Currently, she is finishing up her work in progress: a dark gothic novel she describes as ‘Jane Eyre with vampires.’

She writes monthly stories for Vamplit’s free online horror magazine, Blood Read, most of which are based on one of her characters, fallen angel spawn and vampire, Monsieur Louis Darton.

*

Hello! What follows is the conversation I had with one of the characters, Darton, in my novel, The House on Blackstone Moor.

It happened suddenly at the end of a writing day. I had just finished a chapter and was about to take a break when I heard a voice say:

“I’m sorry I’m taking over the narrative now.”

“What? You can’t. I didn’t intend for it to be that way. It’s told in the heroine’s voice and it’s going to be like that all the way through!”

“Oh come on now, Carole! You’re a ‘seat of the pantser,’ you don’t plan anything!”

“True, but this is different!”

“Really how?

“I don’t know. It just is!”

“Sorry, I am firm about this! I take over the narrative now and that’s the end of the discussion!”

[Curtain]

Now, this somewhat schizoid scene is based on a real incident. Yes, ladies and gentlemen! Here I was, writing my novel. It’s in the first person, told by the young lady of the tale, Rose Baines, a damaged young woman, the only survivor of her family’s carnage who finds a position as governess at a mysterious and accursed house on the desolate Yorkshire Moors.

Now the narrative was going great. Really humming along, until another character, Monsieur Louis Darton began to make himself understood. After he saw how thoroughly thrown I was by what he said about taking over the narrative, he had me sit down and we discussed the matter calmly over coffee.

“It isn’t that I wish to be domineering, Carole,” he said. “But by writing monthly stories for Blood Read you have gotten to know me so well that you have to show my point of view! I think also the readers of those stories would demand, if you’ll forgive me for saying so, that I have some chapters to narrate myself, in my own voice. I mean I can’t just stay in the back ground and be described only by Rose. Do you see what I mean?”

“Yes,” I answered as I did. “Let me think about it.”

Louis, ever the gentleman, was kind enough to let me mull this one over. As I began to think about switching narratives, I realized that there was a perfect point wherein Louis might take control.

It comes at a crucial time in the novel when Rose has received one horrific shock after another about her employers and her two charges. And if that isn’t enough, there is a hideous discovery she makes in the cellar which quite throws her into a state.

As I was thinking this, Louis began once again:

“Pardon me for just interjecting here. But the thing you have to avoid is paralyzing the action, stopping it dead in its tracks so to speak when the narrative is changed.”

“I know that!” I snapped rather defensively. “You’re a character in my novel. I’m the writer, you know!”

“I do apologize. Of course. But truly, you have created me, I am like your child, surely you should listen to your child.”

He did have a point. I urged him to continue because it was a very good one.

“Think of various crises that may occur, awful things going on that I can describe while still giving constant updates on the condition of the heroine, that’s how I would do it if I were you!”

“Yes! Yes,” I cried! “That’s it! That’s how I will do it!”

“There’s just one thing, what about the ten chapters that lead to the rather surprising climax?”

“I have that already figured out! Rose will take over those last ten chapters to wind it all up!”

“That is excellent! Carole, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!”

“Thank you, Louis! I’m sure you’re right!”

You know what? We often have coffee and discuss the novel and I find that I am open to any reasonable suggestion.

There is a moral here: always listen to your characters because, they know a lot, after all—they take after you, don’t they?

Thanks so much for blogging with us today, Carole! I usually write the intro and say how I met the person and mention their works – but yours was so clever and well done I left it in. Great advice on listening to the inner voices – and I wish you much success penning the rest of the story.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2010 9:17 am

    Thank you, C.J.! Wow, delighted to be blogging here today.
    Very honored and thank you for your good wishes too!

  2. July 14, 2010 9:55 am

    Hi Carole! I caught your post at VampLit Writers, and I thought this was so awesome–and I wanted to tell you you’re not alone when it comes a character trying to take over things, lol. That’s happened to me once a couple years back, and I hope it NEVER happens again, lol! (he talked waaaay too much!)

  3. July 14, 2010 11:00 am

    Carole,
    What a wonderful read this was this morning! I had a date with my hero, called it “Date with Daniel” because I was falling out of love with him in the middle of the book. I’d gotten captivated by the dark villain who was screaming for stage time (and the next story was about him).

    In my date, I wore the same red and white low-cut stretchy polka dot dress one of my heroine’s wore, the one with the big knockers, and she’s a size oh 4 or 6, but not on top (all of my heroines have to be buxom), and she ordered her favorite drink: a strawberry margarita, which she spilled on her hand and of course the hero came over and licked her clean! LOL! It was a surprise, even for me. Well, I danced Samba with this Brazilian hunk – who knew I could do this?

    What touched me was something similar to what you talked about, where the character takes over. In my book, my Guardian Angel asks her human lover to “make me real”. In my date, I started to say something just before we began making love, and he stopped me and said, “No, Sharon. Make me real.”

    I got goose bumps.

  4. Robert C. Nelson permalink
    July 14, 2010 12:12 pm

    Carole, my friend, is there any other way to write? Of course not. We bring our people to life, and just like in the real world, they don’t often listen to Mommy or Daddy: they become their own little people. Sometimes they do evil things. That’s okay, since we are writing horror. Panster writing is great because it removes any archaic structure in our masterpieces. Flow, wonderful flow! You gotta love it. I can hardly wait to see your great works completed. The bald guy from Cheyenne will be first on line.

    I love your picture! Poppa Bob is proud of you!

  5. July 14, 2010 1:03 pm

    Thanks, Cinseare. Funny how that happens! I suppose we must always question their motives! Hey! this is giving me an idea for a story!
    Listen: some horror writer that hates a certain author is into mind control and…!

    aye aye aye!
    Thank you, just going to read some of my chapter over!

  6. July 14, 2010 1:12 pm

    gardensoftheheart, that’s adorable!
    Make me real! I like that!
    Guardian angel, eh? I have a fallen angel, well–his mommy was human (not all mommies are)!
    You know writing can often be wish fulfillment. Interesting, especially if that is a reasonable assumption does it apply to writers of slasher horror?! Eek!
    The samba, very nice. If I was going to write something along those lines I’d picture Antonio Banderas in a white dinner jacket and moi in a sexy black dress with a fringe and I think (since this is my fantasy now) he would walk over to me, extend his hand with that smile he has. And the music would be a tango! A hot, steamy, Argentian tango…
    gonna take a glass of water now!
    hey this is fun ladies!
    thank you!

  7. July 14, 2010 1:16 pm

    Robert! Thanks so much for your comment.
    I know this writer who writes with an outline though. sure wish I could. it’s so hard as a pantser. it’s hugely exciting sometimes but really, really hard.
    anyway, I agree we give them life and they do become so real that we often can’t do with them what we originally intended! So weird.
    yes, you’re right about that.
    Thanks Robert and you’re the WONDERFUL guy from Cheyenne!
    xxx

  8. July 14, 2010 2:03 pm

    Carole,
    Now that was a nice one too! I need a glass of water. My actor was Rodrigo Santoro, and I like him best in the Youtube for Chanel No. 5 – the ad he did with Nicole Kidman. But he was the actor in Love Actually, Carl, who never made it (sob) with Laura Linney. I had that scene spread over 10 minutes on super slow mo. Yum.
    Hot Tango. That’s one of my wishlist things too: take Tango lessons in Buenos Aires and dance all night long under the stars!
    This is fun. Okay, now back to writing…
    Sharon

  9. July 14, 2010 2:30 pm

    love that thanks, garden girl! (sharon)!
    yeah, what IS it about those Latins?
    woof!
    You know my fantasies were never raunchy–i would just be quite happy to imagine myself being dipped on the dancing floor at the end of a hot tango or
    gasping (like Catherine Z Jones did) when Zorro jumps into her room.
    (gasp)’ Oh Hi there, Senior Zorro, Care for a drinkie?”
    seriously thanks and me, too! back to mah writing!
    ps going to check up on that commercial with Rodrigo muchas gracias!

  10. July 14, 2010 2:33 pm

    yup! i remember that now! pass the ice cubes!
    woof!
    thanks!

  11. July 14, 2010 3:28 pm

    Hi Carole

    I really enjoyed the post and because I’m not a writer, I can’t imagine what it is like to have a character become so real, to take on a life of its own inside your mind. I’m a fan of all your writing and am looking forward to reading your novel when it’s finished.

  12. July 14, 2010 3:44 pm

    Great interview! I love it when the muses take over. 😉

  13. July 14, 2010 9:09 pm

    Hello, Carole. Well done. It is very good to find you here. We bump into each other everywhere, don’t we? I hope you and yours are well. Take care.
    -James

  14. July 14, 2010 11:36 pm

    A-ha! So, I’m not the only one who carries on conversations with people who don’t really exist.

    Told you, C.J.

    Excellent blog, Carole. Thanks for joining us today.

  15. July 15, 2010 2:00 am

    Wow! Made my day!

    Gaynor, a zillion thanks for what you said. It means a lot to me. Recently Louis was moody about some recent chapters. But we settled it. He’s also eager for you to read what he has to say (in particular).

    Lisa, yes! Took over alright. He’s a domineering so and so! Thanks.

    James, my friend! Yes we do. Thank you so much, James.

    Gregor: look! as long as we know they’re real, right? RIGHT? Hmm.
    Anyway, thanks to you also!

    and thanks once again for the opportunity to write some stuff here!
    xxxx

  16. July 15, 2010 3:47 am

    Hi Carole, its me – your new friend from Facebook… And I really enjoyed your story so much that I read the other day. It was quite awesome & I really loved it very much ! I think you are such a great writer & I got hooked after that first story already, honestly… Now I want more, because you have such a clever imagination & an excellent way with words too, my dear! Bravo! You are a very gifted writer, so very talented indeed!

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