Monday, February 8, 2010

Unexpected Reactions

I had an early, early appointment with the fabulous Carrie Saturday morning. Afterward, I went across the street to Montague's coffee shop. They weren't officially open yet, but said I was welcome to sit until they were.

Montague's is the coffee shop I'd open if I opened a coffee shop. Almost all the chairs are big comfy wing backs. Or overstuffed couches. I picked out a nice table by the front window and set about writing my morning pages.

After they opened, I got a cup of coffee and a pastry and returned to my table. I started in on character sketches using the list of questions compiled from several different online sources. About halfway through the first one, emotions threatened to overwhelm me. The deep motivations of my protagonist hit pretty close to home. Okay, I thought. Understandable.

But what knocked me sideways was my reaction to the antagonist's character sketch. My "bad guy" was suddenly a vulnerable, damaged man instead of a purely evil cad. He still does bad things. I wouldn't want to be married to him. But his motivations and past do make a difference.

These reactions are going to significantly change the tone of the book. And it will be closer to what I wanted when I first started writing MMG all those years ago. Weird. I thought I really knew these characters before. I needed to ask myself the right questions to finally get to their true selves.

Have you ever had a reaction to your own writing (or planning for writing) that surprised you?