Sunday, November 25, 2012

When Real Life Ends Up in a Book

Well, I hit a milestone over the weekend. I'm about halfway through THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT. There was a snag a last week with Rory and I had to think about where the story was going -- headed in an altogether different direction -- but it's been brought back around and coming along.
You see, Rory had an accident. The scene wasn't planned, never in the outline, but that's what happens when you write. Sometimes characters take on their own destiny. I won't give you all the details, (that's for you to read after the book comes out) but Rory fell off a ladder while twenty feet off the ground and was badly injured.

I had no intention of this scene at all -- until I fell off a ladder while working on my old house. No, I didn't fall twenty feet, and it wasn't exactly a fall, more like a slip and a jump off before I fell. But I landed funny and it hurt; jarred my whole body because it was on cement. You know when you do that, it starts at your feet and works its way up to your neck. It hurts. But more importantly it scared the living daylights out of me because I was alone. What if I had fallen off and broken my neck? I was downstairs, cell phone upstairs, and seven stairs between the two. Who would find me? That kind of scenario.

They say writers write from real life experiences. So there's one of mine. I'm not sure what will happen to Rory or Rosamund because I'm almost finished with the old house so there isn't too much more I have to do. No more ladder work anyway. Being halfway through the book, I think it might behoove me to just stick to the outline I had originally written. But then, characters do take on a life of their own, so you never know.

Perhaps I'll save the "snake in the lawn mower" experience for another book.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Big Surprise

As a writer, one of the things I get a kick out of, is when the writing surprises me. Now, as any writer will tell you, their characters talk to them. Mine are no exception. They're with me all the time, wandering around in my head. When I want them to do something they don't want to do, they clam up and I'm left wondering where it all went. But as soon as I let the characters do the talking, everything flows once again.

I had one of these "revelations" the other day. Only it wasn't for this book (THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT).


You may ask, how can you be writing one book and then get a "surprise" about another one?

Well, all my books are interconnected. I'm not writing a straight series (where one book follows another). I'm writing what I call a "wrap-around" series, where all the books happen at the same time (more or less). It's been an interesting concept to deal with.

I always need to know where all my other characters are and what they're doing. ALL of them. In case they need to make an appearance somewhere else.

Which is exactly where my big surprise came in the other day.

I was working on ENGAGEMENT, when it hit me, I finally have the reason why Lady Olivia is in such a funk in this book. I know, I know, I put her there in the first place with a plausible explanation. But I always knew it wasn't good enough. Flimsy, weak. But usable. And then BAM! It hit me. Not only is Lady Olivia in a funk, she's also trying to cover her tracks because of something she did a decade ago. And now it's coming back to haunt her. But not until SEDUCTION. See, I can lay the seeds of what is wrong with Olivia in this book, and then have it all revealed in the next (which will be the last of this series.)

Writing is a strange business. That's all I can say. Five years ago, when I started writing the first book, I never expected it to morph into a series. Surprise. Now that the series is almost complete, I'm surprised again because I never thought I would have enough "plot" to make it all worthwhile. To be complete. To come around full circle. Fun stuff, this.

Tell me -- When you read a series, do you like it when the author ties everything up at the end of it? Or do you like to be kept hanging, left to your own devices as to what the characters will do next?