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Author Antics-Starting the Conversation

I’m a pantser, that is I write by the seat of my pants, an idea comes my way and I just run with it. This approach doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me. I have help though. My characters like to talk about themselves, and they lead interesting lives. To my chagrin, they have a bit of the practical joker about them, Ed Landry is the worst.

 

These characters delight in leading me down the garden path. The writing is fast and furious, the story is moving forward, and all is right with the world. Then, they just clam up and refuse to talk. They have already told me the general direction we’re going, but when I ask for specifics about what happens next—silence.

 

What’s a writer to do when the storyline just vanishes into thin air? This is not a problem for plotters, well not at this stage, they fought this battle before they started. So, here I am in the middle of a book and the voices in my head go silent. Ha ha, very funny. After a short time of frustration, I found there is a way to make them talk.

 

How, you ask? I start writing the story my way. I choose my own sequence of events and put words in the character’s mouths. This can sometimes go on for chapters at a time. It’s a waiting game—who will cave first. Here, I have the advantage. Characters are, at heart, prima donnas. They want me to tell the story. But not just any story—their story, their way.

 

To be sure I pay for making them talk, they decide to restart the conversation in the wee hours of the morning. If they can keep me tossing and turning until close to dawn, they are satisfied, and the story continues. Unfortunately, this tactic seldom works on those who live outside my head. If it did, I’d sell more books.

Jack LaFountain



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