Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stephen King and Character Bread Crumb Trails

My characters speak to me, and the really odd thing is that I never know quite what they're going to say.

Before you creep up behind me quietly with that straitjacket, let me tell you that I know other writers who feel the same way, Stephen King among them.In fact, SK is the one who gave me permission to write the way I do, letting my characters lead the way. Not me, specifically, you understand, but anyone who takes the time to read his book On Writing, which is my all-time favorite writing book.

In this wonderful book about his writing process, "Uncle Stevie," (as he's known to readers of his now defunct column in Entertainment Weekly), taught me three things:
  1. It's okay for your characters to be in charge.
  2. Adverbs are unnecessary.
  3. Even Stephen King writes things he deems unworthy of publication.
But I digress. Last weekend, I blogged about being stuck. And as I was thinking about being stuck and thinking about how it's my characters who got me into this mess, I decided they needed to help me get unstuck.
And so I put them at the finish line. This is where you end up, guys, I imagined myself saying. Now, leave me a trail of bread crumbs back to where we just were.

The bread crumb trail is a bit scant, but by thinking both forward and backward, and feeling the need to come up with only bread crumbs, not fully-baked desserts, I managed to come up with something for each of the major players to do in order to narrow the gap between where I am and where I'm going.

I just hope I can type fast enough to stave off any hungry birds who think my plot twists look tasty.

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