Reading Vonnie Davis’ post today about being woken in the middle of the night by characters inspired some thoughts. I think this may be more of a response to her article, but I feel the need to share. I believe at one point, Vonnie asked the question, “Who’s the writer here?” I had to laugh when I read that. I’m forever intrigued by other writers’ “processes” and this is a question I ask myself all the time when I’m writing. The experience she describes is one I have often, so it amazes me to see that someone else does that. It was a “ha! So I’m not alone!” kind of moment.
As the writer of my books, I like to pretend I’m in control. I write these books. My characters do what I tell them to.
A bit of an aside here—Dillon, from The Playboy’s Baby, just laughed at me. He’s standing on the other of the kitchen, leaning his tall frame against the wall, arms folded across his chest. He grins and winks at me and says, “You keep telling yourself that.”
And that is the sad, gleeful truth of it. I always like to start each book with a plan, some semblance of an idea of where I’m going. But it never fails. There always comes a point where I realize I’m no longer in control anymore. Where the characters take over completely. I was just re-reading TPB this morning. I’d just gotten to the first love scene when I had to stop and laugh. I remember my surprise when the heroine, Emma, revealed she was a virgin…right in the middle of the scene. Hadn’t bothered to tell me this beforehand. sigh
I wasn’t the only one surprised. Poor Dillon hadn’t expected it either. ;)
Now, this happens in every single book. In my current WIP, I was stuck for the longest time. These characters were being very stingy with their story. I must have rewritten the beginning four different ways. One afternoon my hero, Colt, finally took pity on me and whispered in my ear, “take the love scene out of chapter three. And put chapter two back the way it was.” Low and behold, the whole story opened up on me. And I realized, yet again, that I am no longer in control. And it's only chapter three!
But you know what? I don’t think I’d have it any other way. I am simply the vessel, at their beck and call, happily jotting down the stories they tell me. Here's hoping they all eventually find a home, so I can share them all with you.