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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

One of the best pieces I ever received from another author came shortly after I sold my first book. She told me that the writing process will change and that I should go with the flow rather than fight it. I've since learning just how correct she was. My writing process has changed, and over the course of the first four or five books, the shifts were drastic.

Mostly change is an evolution, not a revolution, and that's what it's like now, but that wasn't the case in the beginning. And yet I still sometimes get things coming at me sideways.

Yesterday was one of those days. It started when I was revising the first scene in my hero's point of view (POV). I thought he didn't swear, at least not the harder language, but when I was writing the first draft, a few F words creeped in. I'll catch those as I revise, I told myself, because that isn't him. I haven't heard him swear in any of the scenes I saw/heard with him and there were a lot of those. Only as I revised the first scene, I ended up with more of the F word, not less.

This brought on the epiphany--he's much harder-edged than I believed.

It was disconcerting. I always know my characters so well, and this hero and heroine have been particularly enthusiastic about sharing with me. Where did this come from?

This gave me further epiphany--he's a marshmallow around the heroine and rarely uses the harder swear words in front of her. Okay then. I had another hero (Wyatt from Eternal Nights) who didn't use the F word in front of his heroine, but he was from the south and was raised not to swear in front of women. This hero doesn't give me any sense of being southern at all, so where did this come from?

That wasn't the end of my surprises. Later that evening, I clicked a link on Twitter, saw a picture of a woman, and immediately I knew she was one of my heroines. Just not a heroine I already know.

I've met my characters in a lot of ways over the years. I've had characters appear and tell me their names. I've had characters come in and give me information about their society or world by way of introduction. I've never before had a character pop in because I saw a picture. But hey, I talk with and eavesdrop on imaginary people--this didn't faze me. But I did keep looking at her image off and on all evening and asking, "Who are you?"

I think I have the answer now. If she isn't lying to me.