I’ll admit it. I fell down on the job last week. I’ve been doing my best to blog Mon-Fri. I fell far short of that goal last week for a variety of reasons. Between being up to my eyes with the last round of edits on Jaguar Rising–more on that in a minute–the desire not to drag politics into the blog too much and personal obligations, something had to give and it was the blog. Hopefully, this week will be more normal, if you can call my life normal.
Oh, and if that isn’t enough, Myrtle the Evil Muse came visiting and I had to take a bit of time–more than a bit, but not as much as she usually demands–to get her to leave me alone.
Jaguar Rising is nearing the final stretch and I’m looking forward to it. I really like this story and I absolutely love where it is taking this new story arc/series. Even so, I’ll admit there have been a couple of times when I’ve kind of squirmed at the changes the years have brought to Mac. The changes are necessary but she isn’t the same woman she was when Nocturnal Origins came out. But then the world isn’t the same as it was then, fictional or real.
But what I really dislike was something that hit me yesterday. I was working on a particular scene near the end of the book. It’s one of those scene necessary to advance the plot but it has been an uncomfortable one for me, from originally plotting it to writing it and now to doing a final edit pass. Subconsciously, I knew why but it didn’t dawn on me consciously until last night. I can’t say much about it without giving away the scene and part of the plot, but let’s put it this way, I realized I was worrying about the scene based on what a few folks in cancel culture might say.
Then I realized I needed to stop worrying about it–consciously or not. For one, there is nothing wrong with the scene. It is life. Life isn’t always easy and things aren’t always fair or nice.
More than that, the way the scene plays out is necessary for the book and for the closure of the first story arc and the beginning of the second. It may not be to some people’s liking but I hope they see it is necessary for the world that Mac lives in and the circumstances existing in it.
Now we come to Mac. She’s not the first main character I wrote about. But she’s been with me as a series longer than anyone else. Part of that is because I really like her and I love writing stories with her in them. But, just as her world has changed, so has she. Part of that is she’s become more mouthy and demanding. No, not in the books but in my head.
No, don’t call the men in the white jackets. I’m a writer. That means I have a lot of other people living in my head, all jabbering at me at the same time. Mac, however, is the alpha there. (Although she’s been getting some competition this past year from Jax from the Eerie Side of the Tracks series.)
Anyway. . . .
As I said, Mac’s gotten very mouthy and very pushy. I should have realized Jaguar Rising was going to be one of those books where she wound up fighting me in ways I didn’t expect. Remember, it was supposed to be a short story. Then it expanded to a novella. Now it’s a full-blown novel and it’s Mac laughing maniacally in my head, not the evil muse. (Could Myrtle be giving my characters lessons? Please, no!) I realized Saturday while talking with one of my first readers there was another issue she’d dropped in my lap very subtly but with the full determination that she was right and I was wrong.
And I should have seen it coming, damn it.
The last two titles, Nocturnal Prey and Cat’s Paw, were different from the other titles in the series. They were shorter. But they were also written from Mac’s first person point of view instead of third person. But, going into Jaguar Rising I went back to third person. No problem, right?
That’s what I thought. Until I did the final re-write pass. I didn’t realize Mac took over and the added scenes were suddenly in first person. Because I sent the updated manuscript off to the first reader without going back over it, they weren’t warned. When I got a text wanting to know if I meant to change POVs, I was lost. What did she mean?
And Mac laughed in my head.
Worse, she refused to budge when I tried to change those scenes back.
Hey, have you ever had a determined shapeshifter in your mind refusing to play nice? It’s not fun.
So, I had a long talk with the first reader Saturday. We discussed the point of view issue. And, damn her, she laughed at me and told me I needed to simply give in, admit Mac was right and make the changes necessary to take the book to first person.
And I cried and wailed and cursed and then hung my head and said “yes, ma’am”. Damned evil characters who think writers are only here to serve them. Sniffle.
So you can see where I’m going to be this next week. I’m going to be changing pronouns and doing surface rewrites. Fortunately, it really isn’t going to be as difficult as it sounds. The book was written in third person limited, which means it was in Mac’s POV, just not in first person. But, damn it, the book was finished. It was almost ready to be set up for print and digital editions. I was looking forward to a couple of days off.
Damned evil muses and mouthy characters.
And yes, Mac and Myrtle are sitting back, grinning as they sip their morning coffee and tell me it is time to get off the blog and get back to work.
Hi, my name’s Amanda and I’m a writer with voices in my head and characters telling me they know more about how their stories should be written than I do.