If you read Right As Wrong Can Be, you know I left Mick & Padre Thomas at odds. Very serious odds. Some readers thought it was the end of the good Padre. No. I did it because at the time, and because of the story line, it had to happen. I knew I left myself with a problem, but it was unavoidable.
Believe me, I’ve spent many restless nights trying to figure out how to get Mick & the Padre back on the pages. No matter what the idea was, or how good I thought it was, when I sat down and typed, it didn’t work.
I have a small sign in my writing room that reads: Writers Block: When Your Imaginary Friends Won’t Talk To You. Mick & Padre weren’t talking to me. If they were, I wasn’t listening.
Some writers outline their book. Jeffrey Deaver told me his outline is often longer than his book! I usually know where I want to begin, where I think the middle is and how the ending will be. I am usually wrong about the middle and the end.
Mick and his list of friends have a history. I can’t change that history. I can certainly play with it. I can make Mick frightened of something. Or I can have Norm show a soft side. Both those traits would be out of character for them, but done right it could be believable.
What I did the other day was give up on the solution to my problem. Instead of me finding the reason or way Mick and Padre Thomas work things out (or not) was to let them show me. I sat down and wrote a paragraph that recapped the ending of the last chapter and then Padre Thomas showed up! Surprised everyone (including me).
Seeing the situation in my head, I wrote (with their input) almost 1,000 words and the chapter is only about half done. I’ve avoided thinking of what happens next. Who says what. I’ll be surprised Monday when I sit down, re-read the first part of the chapter and begin what I hope will be the end of the chapter.
Will their friendship rekindle? Will they argue? Fight? The only thing I know now is that Padre Thomas is in the forgiving business and Mick Murphy ain’t! I’m not sure what that means and your guess is as good as mine on how the chapter goes.
Now I need to read Reed Farrel Coleman’s new book, What You Break. Reading keeps my mind from wandering and I need to let Mick and Padre Thomas work out their differences before Monday so they can help me finish the chapter.
By the way, this isn’t the first time I’ve depended on the characters to help me out.