Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Midnight Madness - When the Muse Comes to Getcha!

So I wake up in the middle of the night with the sudden understanding of why writing that "detective reveals all" scene went SO SLOW yesterday.

It's all wrong.

Not factually - that's just fine - but those smaller revelations are an emotional bombshell. This is no snappy "it was Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick" kind of thing. For certain characters, it changes everything. It creates a moral justice vacuum. And it totally steals the thunder of the last clever little twist I had for the end. The characters are just not going to be in the mood for it.

So I ended up tossing and turning for a long time, but I think I have the answer. This revelation has to come before the villain is vanquished, when emotions and anger are high, and when there is time for the characters to make choices.

But that's the key here. You have to allow your characters choices, especially at the end. You can make that choice really tough - but the tougher it is, the more you have to let them deal with it. It can be tempting to clean things up and take things out of their hands, but you can't.

And now after four hours sleep, I'm wide awake, and I need to sleep before going to work.

Such is the price of art.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

At least you came up with your answer! 4 hours sleep...bleh. I think you're right...when we give our characters choices--even the choice between 2 bad options--it does make life interesting.

Mystery Writing is Murder

The Daring Novelist said...

And I spent another hour tossing and turning just now trying to figure out how to make my solution work. (Solving the solution, hah!)

I've got a ton of notes to take before work today.

Talli Roland said...

Tossing and turning does pay off! I usually come up with my best ideas in the middle of the night.

The Daring Novelist said...

Talli: definitely! I recently read a blog post (I think it was a guest poster on Elizabeth's blog) by a writer who said she does most of her idea generating through dreams. Letting your unconscious work on something really does make a difference.