Still Surprising

You’d think that after 97,867 words I’d have things pretty well plotted out by now, that I’d know everything the characters are going to say and what they’re going to do.

Far from it. Instead, this far in I find myself knowing what my characters want, and what situations they’re going to have to deal with next. But I don’t know how they’re going to deal with it, or how things will play out, until after it’s written.

Early on, this terrified me. What if what I write is terrible? What if I contradict myself? What if I set them free and they totally derail my plot and everything ends up in shambles?

This past week, though, it’s actually helped me relax and just write. How will they get out of this problem? I dunno, let them solve it. How will they convince this character to help them out? No idea, let’s see if they find a way.

It sounds creepy and weird to say it, like I’ve got multiple personalities crawling around in my brain. But I swear to you, earlier this week one of the characters turned to the other and said the solution to a problem that I’d been wrestling with since November, and it was better than anything I’d come up with. Gave me chills to write it out.

I hope it keeps happening, all the way to the end. It makes the act of writing a little more like an act of discovery, something akin to an improv performance, with me both on the stage saying lines and standing on the sidelines watching.

It’s fun, and I don’t know how long this feeling will last, but I’m going to enjoy it while it does.

Ron Toland @mindbat