I suppose this gives me a place to vent, rather than walking around in circles, mumbling to the cats. Not that there’s much need for venting at the moment, just a general ennui, and trying to get all my muses in a row. The frustration of writing suspense, and most anything else, I imagine, is that as you’re working, everything is in your head. You, the author, know what’s around every turn and under every rock. You know the red herrings, and you know the red shirts, (the fifth crew members on Star Trek, the ones that wound up vaporized or condensed into a neat little geometric shape of minerals,) and you know who is really good/bad/out of their minds. So, as I write, I’m wondering, am I really pulling this off? Will this make sense to my readers, am I giving too much, and will they see it coming a mile away, or am I giving too little, and the pieces won’t mesh in the end. According to my kind victims, uhm, test readers, for the most part, yes, I pulled it off. Which doesn’t mean there isn’t tweaking to do, but that’s to be expected.
So now I’m doing it again. I know what’s in ‘the snow’, where, why, and how it plays out. I have everything outlined, and it is all coming together very satisfyingly. My characters are throwing me a few curve balls, which I expected, and I roll with it. Sometimes a scene isn’t working, so I back up, hit the delete key (okay, cut and paste it into a scrap file) and start over. Minor characters stepped up to bigger roles, action shifted. I try to write with a general idea of where I’m going, then figure the worst possible route to get there. What could go wrong? With my characters, that’s not too hard. How could it go even worse, and what, in turn, might that lead to? Sometimes I find myself on an entirely different path, and the outline gets overhauled. Overall, it’s a fun process, though at times it leaves me pacing and mumbling ‘I need something.’ Those around me have learned not to be alarmed by this behavior.
Presently, I’m in one of those spots. My mood tends to reflect my characters at the point of a scene. And presently, my most antisocial, snarky, difficult character is trapped in a tense, stuffy, social scene. She’s at her best alone or in life & death situations, and while it is necessary she be there, she, and consequently I, am not happy about it. So ‘we’re’ sticking it out, and by the second draft I’ll work in more humor and/or violence to satisfy us both.
Thank goodness my husband understands, when he asks how my day was, and I say “I really need to kill someone.” (That’s in two chapters!)