Isn’t it weird how characters can take control of a project, and you as the writer are suddenly just a tool in process of creation, like a brush in an artist’s hand? This has happened to me many times through the years, but most recently on a revision of my novel. There were a few tweaks I planned on making, but as I reviewed my pages, strengthening and tightening my prose, my characters unexpectedly began to flirt.
Maybe sitting untouched and lonely in a computer file for months without any attention led them to personal explorations when I wasn’t looking; maybe they just needed time to grow on each other. A major age gap was abruptly forgotten, as the dialogue dripping from my female lead’s tongue was not that of her age. She had been younger this whole time, and I had pigeon-holed her else-ware. The poor woman was probably screaming at me to ID her this whole time, like a girl on the brink of her 30th birthday buying beer.
But now I know. My characters corrected me. Ages now accurate, love interest defined, they flirted and playfully bantered across my pages, creating a sexiness my manuscript had lacked. What fun!
As an update, I finished my edits today. What version of my novel this is I couldn’t tell you, easily past draft five. Looking back, it seems so odd that I felt proud of my “finished” book in the spring of 2008. It was an accomplishment, but now it’s ready… I think… I hope…
Writing: what a beautifully schizophrenic, maniacal process.