Interesting experience a few weeks back. I got into a serious argument with some characters in The Augmented Man. The argument was so serious that all writing stopped. Not only writing on The Augmented Man, also work on Ritchie and Phyl, Gable Smiled and a host of others.
Fantasy characters threatened to strike in support of their literary fiction brothers and sisters. Characters still in development refused to cross picket lines in support of their already written brethren and sistren.
There was talk of locking up my keyboard until things got resolved.
But if you lock up the keyboard we’ll never reach an agreement, I explained.
Phyl said, “You have two paragraphs, Mister. Get writing.”
Okay, it wasn’t quite like that.
My writing method is usually stream of consciousness. I sit, rest my hands over the keys and stuff happens (like right now, in fact). I just let it happen and edit on the next pass (doing that, too!). Sometimes what I write doesn’t go with what I’m working on, at least not obviously so, and I have to rip it out.
Usually I’m able to take that ripped out piece and use it elsewhere, if not in my current project then in some future project. For example, my writing coach thought having Trailer “stare down a bear or wolf or something” would be a great way of demonstrating Trailer’s authority in the woods, that nothing dares oppose him. Specifically, my coach wanted me to have Trailer encounter some uber-predator and have the uber-predator back off, showing that even the uber-predators fear him.
You may or may not like what I came up with and the point is it does (some of/close to) what my coach wanted while also revealing something about Trailer; he doesn’t kill needlessly. In fact, in both cases he acts to show mercy, something he’d never do with humans.
But it just didn’t belong in the story. And I couldn’t find a place where it would belong in the story. It’s interesting (I hope) and revelatory and it slows the story down. The Augmented Man is a fast-paced story. My first readers tell me they lose track of time reading it, they pick it up and can’t put it down. Great! That’s my intention.
But the above caused me some problems. I stopped writing. Trailer and some of the other characters walked away, shaking their heads in disgust or dismay. Even the bear sow stood up, crossed her arms over her chest, tapped her foot impatiently and shook her head at me. Trailer, especially, said, “That’s not relevant. Not here, not now, maybe not ever, not in my story, anyway. Use it in something else.” (and you’ll notice I am)
And I fought him on it.
Idiot moi! I took on an Augmented Man, 654#, 7′ tall.
It weren’t no fun.