Two kinds of people listen to the voices in their heads — schizophrenics and mystery writers. I’m the kind who doesn’t talk back. Usually.
I say usually because every so often it becomes necessary for me to argue with one of those voices, otherwise known as my characters. They can be very demanding. For instance, in Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series, I got to a point while writing the story where Anastasia went on strike. My amateur sleuth absolutely refused to continue on the path laid out by the synopsis my editor had approved. No matter how much I tried to force her into the next chapter, she wouldn’t budge.
Have I mentioned what a royal pain in my butt she is?
Being on deadline, I had no choice but to cave to her demands, especially since she’d gotten the rest of the characters to line up in solidarity behind her. Then they pooled their resources and sent my muse off on holiday.
Have I mentioned the voices in my head play dirty?
So there I was, staring at a blinking cursor for hours on end, my deadline looming closer and closer. I had no choice but to give in to Anastasia’s demands. And boy did she toss a monkey wrench into my previously approved plot!
“You’re taking the easy way out,” she screamed at me. “I demand more conflict! Another red herring! One more plot twist!”
“My editor had no problem with the story the way it is,” I whined.
“Get her on the phone. She’ll see things my way.”
I wondered how much editors really know about those voices in our heads. Would she think I’d gone nuts? I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Anastasia was a fictional character and only a fictional character as far as my editor knew. Best to keep it that way.
“Fine, you win,” I said. “I’ll write the story your way.”
“You’ll thank me in the end,” she said.
And you know what? Damned if she wasn’t right. She usually is. I’ve learned my lesson. I recently completed the third book in the series, and this time I didn’t even bother arguing with her. I just wrote the book the way she wanted it written.
—-Lois Winston is the author of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries published by Midnight Ink. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and was recently nominated for a Readers Choice Award by the Salt Lake City Library System. The new year brings with it the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series. Read an excerpt at http://www.loiswinston.com/excerptap2.html. Visit Lois at her website: http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. You can also follow Lois and Anastasia on Twitter @anasleuth.
Lois is currently winding up a month-long blog tour where she’s giving away five signed copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll. To enter the drawing, post a comment to this blog or any of the others on the tour. You can find the complete schedule at her website and Anastasia’s blog. In addition, she’s giving away 3 copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll on Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/15173-death-by-killer-mop-doll