I finished nailing down a particularly tricky chapter about a quarter to midnight last night. This was far too late for the mother of a brand new second-grader who needed to be driven to school the next morning by someone who remembered the way.
But because I am still pretending, after years of solid evidence to the contrary, that I am a night owl whose brain doesn’t close up shop after ten p.m., I went over the document with spellcheck* and my own bleary eyeballs before firing it off to this project’s first reader.**
I’ve spent the morning checking e-mail for her response, because it’s a pivotal chapter and I wanted to know if the jaw-dropping reveal actually dropped her jaw, and for the right reasons.
I got her e-mail a couple of minutes ago.
“Wow!” she wrote.
Whew, I thought.
“I was thinking that guy was really [main minion], but I wasn’t sure until the last sentence.”
“I can’t wait to know how they knew each other before! I didn’t even suspect [romantic interest] had a nefarious past, much less an alias!”
That character isn’t supposed to know the minion—the reader does, but our heroine isn’t scheduled to clue in until later. She isn’t supposed to have a hinky past, either (hence her cluelessness). Or an alias.
What she is supposed to have, poor woman, is a writer who, in the last few, crucial bits of dialogue, doesn’t get her characters’ names mixed up with those from a completely different WIP—or one who has the common sense to proofread while awake.
So I have two options here: I can correct my mistakes to protect the innocent from the idiot, go back to my safe, designated plot—which is almost %$*& finished, by the way— and confess all to my first reader.
Or . . .
I can invent a whole different backstory for the character , ditch 94% of my safe designated plot for something potentially 94% more interesting , and let my first reader keep thinking I’m brilliant on purpose.***
Don’t write tired, kids . . .
*My Word program doesn’t accept the word “spellcheck.” One is allowed, however, to have spellchecked something in the past with a spellchecker. I am agog . . . which it did accept. I give up.
**I have been blessed with two. One of them is a fantastic writer, and the other is an equally fantastic reader. I love them both very, very much.
***If that isn’t another one of my delusions, I’m golden until she reads this post. Um, hi, Katya . . .surprise!