Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Decision time...

The problem with most authors isn't procrastination (though that is a serious issue, at times); it's making up your mind. You get a story going, get the characters to work with you on it, listen to their suggestions and input, start honing the story...and then suddenly you're faced with the reality that once it's done, it's done and you fall into the trap of, "Am I making the right choices here?" "Am I going too far or have I become lost in obscurity?" "Am I hearing things right from my characters?"

I mean, I know that's the way it works for me. Because I rarely know what's going to be in the story before I start it. I have a vague idea and a folder filled with notes of possibilities, but nothing solid except in the back of my scrambled brain.

I've heard of authors who outline the story beforehand and then everything else is fitted to it. I can't work like that; it bores me. I've tried, and I lose interest about halfway through. Granted, it makes for chaos in my mind as I write, and a lot of wasted effort, I suppose, since I wind up with hundreds of pages that get tossed with OT when it started solidifying itself...though many of those are due to my tendency towards Hollywood-style melodrama, something Jake is not about to let me get away with.

I cannot think of a story I've written (that I like how it turned out) where I've done a full outline, first. I think the closest I came was Find Ray T, and that was just a quickie list of things I wanted in the script. Plus I was buzzed when I did the first draft of it, so that was probably a good thing to do in order to keep my loopiness on target. Same for Blood Angel. It wasn't till Katrina that I was able to find a way into that story...and then it all but wrote itself...including an ending that goes against the grain of romance.

I usually just dive into the story once I have the characters and let it build from there. Such is the life of this author. But somehow it seems to work out. When I started writing HTRASG, I was fairly certain the ending would be tragic, but in what way or with which character dying was beyond me. Then the whole thing swooped into Curt protecting Shayes after destroying him. Totally unplanned...but it made for a much better ending, and it really messes people up. I've had reviews on GoodReads for that book where they can't believe they felt pity or concern for a man who is, essentially, a serial rapist. Made me very proud.

With OT, I was trying to avoid the obvious and repetitive, as regards who the killer is, but I couldn't weasel around it in a way that made sense. So...I changed it back and just hope it works. All I can say now is, it fits. And it's brutal. And I have no idea why it went that way. But it is what it is.

Whether or not it looks good is yet to be told.

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