A recent discussion on Crime Fiction, a LinkedIn crime writers group, ended up in the bedroom.
OOPS! Take one giant step backward.
Let me explain. My novel characters in Next of Kin work in progress often have a stubborn streak and wander off on their own exploits, leaving me to revise scenes and chapters to fit those moods. The Crime Fiction thread was directed at how to avoid this. One post suggested that a good night’s sleep might cure the problem.
Drink one cup of chamomile tea and relax.
That doesn’t work for me. When my characters traipse off course, leaving the path my fingertips have painted with words, I follow them all day. I meander in and out of unplanned scenes and dialogue. After dinner, I review my manuscript. I fuss at the character and try to explain that I, the author, am in charge. When that doesn’t work, I hogtie that character and drag him to bed.
Wave get-out-of-jail-free card.
While I wait to be arrested by the evening shift sergeant, I replay that character’s dialogue and actions, demanding to know why s/he didn’t trust me to do the right thing. I toss and turn with thoughts of editorial revenge until I drift off to sleep. I snooze.
I awake, alone in the darkness, and realize the character is right.