Sunday, December 12, 2010

Unpredictable me...

I just read a remark somewhere in one of the Goodreads m/m forums that said, "Cat Grant? I never know what to expect from her."

To which I reply, "GOOD!"

I'll be the first to admit that I'm easily bored. While I wouldn't say I have ADD, doing things I've done before makes me antsy. I like to mix it up, keep things fresh. There are worse things in the world than being unpredictable.

I just started my tenth book last night. Yup, I'm in the double digits! Maybe one of these days I'll finally figure out what I'm doing-

Except I kinda hope I don't. Because starting a new manuscript is the most exciting part - for me, anyway. I'm not a plotter, but I do spend a fair amount of time letting the story "percolate" in my mind before I start writing. But I have no idea what the ending will be, other than it has to close on a kiss.

And moreover, I don't want to know. I want the characters to reveal themselves to me as I write. Sometimes they do things that are completely unexpected. That's when I know I'm onto something. It's when they clam up and refuse to talk to me at all that I know I've made a mistake, and have to backtrack.

If this sounds like channeling, or automatic writing... well, yes and no. There is this little thing called "editing" that happens once the first draft is committed to virtual paper. That's my chance to smooth things out, give the story a more coherent shape and narrative. That's when the early chapters get a good revision, because by then I know more about my characters than I did when I started.

Sometimes my characters are difficult. Capricious. Stubborn. They tell me things about themselves that aren't always pleasant or flattering. They let me into their hearts and heads. They reveal their flaws - which, to my mind, makes them even more human. It's not my job to judge them, just to present them as honestly as possible.

And that's one thing I will never find boring.

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