I’m answering reader questions today, so let’s get right down to it.
Andrea asks, “How often do you get partway through a story only to have the character foil your plans and change directions?”
Answer: Since I don’t consciously plot out my books in advance, this doesn’t usually happen. The characters know what way they need to take. Now I’m not saying my characters are actually alive and speaking to me like I’m some literary medium, but the fact is that I do a lot of my plotting subconsciously.
My brain processes information on a subconscious level, and then when it’s ready, it’s spills over into my conscious mind. Sometimes I will get stuck on part of a book, and I’ll have to process through what I’m doing—again, on a subconscious level. I’ll play puzzle games, or watch TV, or do something mindless so that my mind can churn over what needs to happen. What I do NOT do is to try to force the words to come. I’ve written enough books that I know the words will be there when the plot point or character issue has resolved itself. This is just my writing process in action.
That being said, I have been surprised by some of the twists and turns the characters take in the books, but it all seems to work out in the end.
Crystal asks, “Have you ever written a character, whether the main or side character, that you have disliked to the point of where you just wanted to find some way to get rid of them, or at least hide them somewhere to never see the light of day?”
Answer: Oh, I so know this is not going to make a lot of people happy, but—yes.
During the first few Delilah books in Otherworld, Delilah drove me so batty that I wanted to slap her. She and I had issues, because she is not the sort of heroine I usually write. She was timid and whiny. I thought she was adorable in cat form, but in human form? Yeah, another matter.
By the end of the series will I actually had grown rather fond of her, but she was probably one of my least favorite characters to write about, when talking about main characters. I didn’t like Chase much, either, at the beginning, though I grew to like him a lot better later on in the series.
Of course, some of the villains I write give me the creeps. When I wrote to Courting Darkness, after writing the scenes with Smokey’s father Hyto, I always wanted to take a shower because he was so slimy and cruel.
Crawl was also gruesome to write about, from the Indigo Court Series. And Lannan was the villain I really didn’t want to like but it was hard not to find him charming, in that freakshow kind of way.
So far, in the Wild Hunt Series, the Whisper Hollow Series, the Fury Unbound Series, and the Bewitching Bedlam series, I’ve liked all the main characters a lot, and the villains have been twisted, but none have ever quite reached the level of making me as angry as Hyto did. (You might ask why I “let” him get away with what he did…but he was a dragon, he was psycho, and that’s what sociopathic powerful men do—they rule by humiliation, fear, and greed).
I’ll answer more reader questions next week, so stay tuned! And remember, you still have a few days left to preorder The Eternal Return before release day on Monday! I will try to have the print version out as soon as I can after the e-book release.
Bright blessings. And try to get a few moments to yourself during this busy holiday season.