Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Questions from the Blog Pile

Last week I was a blogger for 2 B Read, the blog for members of the RWA chapter, PASIC (Published Authors Special Interest Chapter). Coming down to the wire for my blog day, the idea machine was bone dry: no topic, no idea what to blog about and I panicked...slightly.

RWU to the Rescue! I asked the ladies there for topics and received dozens of suggestions. Some of them were really terrific, so I thought I'd take one from the list each week, whether here, at 2 B Read, or the RWU blog and post my answer.

Today's question came from Zara Penney:

When you write do you have the answer in your head?

God, no! I'm usually about halfway through a story before I know what's going to happen at the very end. And even then, the ending is subject to change. Case in point: The Bonds of Matri-money.

By now if you're a reader of this blog, you know that Bonds is the story of two virtual strangers who, when faced with financial ruin, get married to compete in a Survivor-style gameshow for newlyweds. As I researched the locale (Bali) and dreamed up interesting challenges for handcuffed couples to accomplish, in the back of my mind was the nagging question, "When all is said and done, will these two win or lose?"

I won't give anything away here. If you're dying to know, buy the book. But the question haunted me for a long time. I knew what I felt was right, but how was I to get my hero and heroine to that ending? Believe it or not, I wrote three different versions of those last few scenes in Bali, until I reached what I believed to be a satisfactory, realistic ending.

Now I'm coming to the end of Two for the Money. (It's about time!) Once again, I'm faced with questions. And while I suspect I know the answers, my characters could convince me otherwise. The truth of the matter is, if I know the ending too soon, I can't finish the story. I lose interest if I'm not constantly wondering what will happen next.

What about you other writers? Do you know everything that will happen or do you need the surprise to keep you going?