Thursday, January 12, 2012

Demons between the lines

I've admitted before that I send my characters to face my personal demons. They do my fighting for me, to convince me that it can be done. I try to set things up so my characters charge into the fight of their own free will, but sometimes it's more like this Frazetta painting here.

Course Corrections is an adventure -- a caper, even. I wanted it to be exciting and fun. I was inspired a lot by Ocean's Eleven and the story of a ballsy rescue of Irish independence fighters who were imprisoned in Australia.

Surely there are no demons being fought here?

Maggie instigates this caper because she wants to rescue her cousin. She thinks she needs him back to support her as a leader, but by the time she actually pulls this off she's quite capable without him. I didn't tell Maggie that, mind you, but that was my plan. rescuing people is a personal demon? No. It was Maggie's growing into a confident leader that I needed. In person, I'm not leadership material. But on paper, I'm reaching out to readers and saying Come on, this will be fun and interesting and I won't let you down.

Self-confidence? That's a demon of mine. Maggie pulled off her caper by working hard, assembling a good team, taking risks and applying a mix of trust and discipline to the team. It was kind of like writing a book, actually. I put together a good ensemble of characters, took a risk on a plot twist and when it started to blow up I let go of the reins and trusted my characters to find their way. I've applied some discipline through revisions to keep them focused and tighten up the tension.

Maybe I did learn something from Maggie. This's why I call my writing self-therapy. 

That was an easy demon-between-the-lines to talk about. I did chain one character down and spring a demon on him, in Course Corrections, but that one is a lot more personal.

What did you bury between the lines of your story?

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