Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders, as planned.

Interesting experience, writing The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders.

First of all, you'll notice I've gone back to the original title.

Which is apropos, because the experience of writing this book once again proved to me that it is best to stick to original plans. I've gotten in the bad habit lately of getting partway through a book and then changing things.  Which breaks one of the cardinal rules I imposed early on -- write the story completely before changing things.

Both methods have dangers.  When I change things too early, I often lose focus, I create so many complications for myself that I get into a confusing quagmire of contradictory tones and ideas.

If I don't change things I tend to write myself into a corner.

What I've decided is -- a change can be allowed if it is additional or subtractional, that is -- if I don't have to reorganize the book, but simply need to add or subtract.  For instance, add a character and that character's viewpoint chapters.

This adding a character has been an amazingly effective way to address any shortfalls in a book.  It often adds a texture, the information, the dramatic contrast, that the book needs. Without messing with what's already been written.

I've now written three out of the last five books this way, and it is the model I'm going to try to follow going forward. The other two books, I started changing things too soon.  It isn't that they won't end up being just as good, but that they will take twice as long to get done.

I've come to believe that a story wants to be written the way a story wants to be written. I trust my subconscious and my biggest job is to get out of its way!  More often than not, the story veers in unexpected directions.  Consciously, intellectually messing with this is usually a bad idea.

Even the adding new characters is usually something that comes to me full blown as a solution, as if the subconscious had it in mind all along.

Two thirds of the way through this book, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to come up with an ending that worked.  I almost started changing things, but then decided to go the rest of the way before doing it.

So when I finally wrote the ending yesterday, I was amazed at how smoothly it came out.

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