One of the reasons this post is late is that I spent most of the day at a friend's house playing a role-playing game. This was something I used to do more often but like many things, stopped when I got busy with other aspects of my life. It was nice, just spending time with people, creating a character that lived out of a few traits the game master had given, drinking diet soda and eating candy between rolls of the dice.
It was something different, taking a break from the writing. And it was a lot of fun.
Which brings me to why this is also a post about writing. Lately building characters in my head to put onto a page hasn't been the kind of fun that I had today. It isn't just that I could come up with something totally wacky, like my super heroine Maxi Rubber Maid, whose superpower consisted of shooting liquid latex at objects. That might not sound like much until you realize you can totally cover that sand floor with a rubber sheet and keep the sand worms from eating your companions, or when the super villain gives you too much static you can gag him with a rubber ball in his mouth.
There are a couple reasons it was fun making up my heroine. First of all, I didn't have to create her to appeal to a wide audience. She only had to make sense to the six people at the table, all of whom were friends. Her entire purpose was to amuse me and them. This is unlike the characters I write in my books who are subject to criticism by a wide range of people, who are frequently pretty nasty in their comments. This is much more like what I used to enjoy when working on my books, where the only person I had to please was myself. Back then coming up with a character was fun.
I've kind of stopped having much fun when I'm writing a character. That might be why it's gotten so hard.
Second, this wasn't a character that I'd ever tried to work with in the past and the people I'm dealing with today already exist in previous books. I already know them and am actually kind of bored with them already.
Starting tomorrow I'm going to work again on my WIP and see if I can't find a way to make those characters as much fun to spend time with as Maxi Rubber Maid was today. Maybe I'll give each of them a superpower and then somehow translate that into something that works in the book.