I have to admit, before I started writing, I genuinely believed that an author simply sat down and began writing a book and simply kept writing until it was finished. I couldn’t fathom the true process of writing a book.
The first draft that I convinced myself was sufficient… until I read through it and realized that it was all complete garbage and that it must be deleted almost in its entirety. The second draft that I knew would be better, but by then was realistic enough to know that it wasn’t going to be the last draft by any measure. And all of the multitude of drafts that followed.
But this wasn’t the most surprising thing about writing. The most surprising thing was the sheer number of times that I had an entire scene laid out in my head. Every. Last. Detail. But as I wrote the scene, I could not get the characters to do what I wanted them to do. Character A that was supposed to have a crush on Character B… but clearly hated Character B. And not in a Maddox-being-told-to-hate-Addie kind of way. In a visceral, absolutely-despise-this-other –character-to-the-core-of-their-being kind of way. Where a connection between Character A and Character B simply refused to exist.
Or an entire scene where I wanted the characters to decide one thing, but somehow, as the dialogue progressed, the decision was the opposite.
This sounds crazy. Really crazy. Believe me, when I was writing The Auctor Trilogy and was fighting with my characters through the dialogue to get them to do what I wanted, and it just wasn’t working… I felt as though I was losing my mind. (This might have been partially because I wouldn’t sleep for two days at a time while I was writing, but that’s a whole other blog post.)
The more that I interact with other authors, though, the more I realize that I’m not crazy. This is something all authors go through. For whatever reason, the dialogue that we like simply doesn’t line up with the way the scene we had planned should go. Or the way that we write the scenery that makes everything feel right simply doesn’t respond to the way that we want the characters to do something. After several years of writing, I try really hard to just let the book go the way that it wants to go. It seems to work out better. Of course, this isn’t always the case. I am incredibly stubborn, even with my own writing, so sometimes I fight until I get what I want.