Characters, Editing, Fiction, Group, Novel, Revision, Writing

Your character did WHAT?!


Not so long ago, I confessed that I’d rushed and ended my novel before it was finished. Then I went back to work and filled in the missing pieces. And yet … I later commented that I had a nagging feeling that something I’d written did not ring true for one of my characters. Finally—two weeks after I’d submitted the revision to my once-a-month critique group—I realized where I’d gone off-track.

Yesterday, the group met and, of course, they called me on it. They were very nice. No one said, “What were you thinking?” Then we brainstormed a solution. Renee’s a fighter, she wouldn’t do this. What if she did that? What if this happened? And then Jalal would do this. Oh, and then …

I loved it. And—most importantly—I did not panic. I did not see this scrapping of this long scene as a tragedy or the rewriting as a huge undertaking. That I had written this nicely crafted, but wholly inappropriate scene was not evidence that I’m a bad writer.

So, as soon as I could, I sat down and started the revision. It’s going well. The new scene will sustain the tension between Jalal and Renee. It will stay true to Renee’s character. It will make sense.

Now, please tell me you’ve all had this “what was I thinking” experience in your writing, so I won’t feel alone.