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Saturday, January 7, 2006

Synchronicity or Ghost in the Machine--Pick Your Favorite Police Album

I just love it when Gertrude and I are in sync. You see, I'm what's known in the biz as a "pantser." I can't plot my stories to save my life. The problem is, if I know what's going to happen to my characters before I write the story, I can't write the story. It's kind of like walking in on the last fifteen minutes of a movie with a surprise ending. If you know what's going to happen, why invest all the time in the setup? I have to be as enthralled with what might happen as my readers.
Being a pantser makes for some interesting events. I never know what my characters might get into next. Gertrude drafts the scenes in my head and I type them out. This procedure requires me to be extremely flexible in my writing process. As the story evolves, Gertrude can change direction at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, though, I can write half a book, then Gertrude decides it doesn't work after all and I have to scrap it. Thus was the case with a story I had planned as the first in a trilogy about three sisters.
About three months ago, having been away from this story for over a year, Gertrude and I decided we'd worked out the kinks and were ready to finish it once and for all. We've currently hit the 75% complete mark. I still need the black moment--the scene where all seems lost for my hero and heroine, and of course their Happily Ever After solution. But my mind is open to all sorts of possibilities. I'm certain the right scenario will occur to Gertrude soon and she'll reveal all--probably while I'm in the shower or stuck in traffic or at a wedding. Someplace where I'll be forced to scribble the idea down on a napkin or the back of an envelope or on my hand, until I can get back to the computer and write it all out.
The best part of all, though, is that Gertrude and I have come up with a title we're extraordinarily proud of. This latest soon-to-be-finished masterpiece is called, "Nobody's Darling." I know, it might not sound like much to you, but when you get the chance to read the story (and if I'm allowed to keep the title), you'll see why it works so beautifully. Stay tuned...

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