I know I am! Here it is Thursday, and no Wednesday post! Shame on me, huh? So, there’s this week’s theme: forgetting.
There are two aspects to forgetting that I can cover now. One is what happens when you don’t see your latest project for a few days, and when you do open it again, you can’t remember who is doing what with whom and why they’re doing it. So you have to read the whole manuscript over to be sure that you know where you are. If it happens to me, it happens to you. Don’t bother trying to deny it. That, to be sure, is a nuisance of the first order.
A more important aspect of forgetting is not remembering your preconceived notions about what is going to happen in your story, be it next, or six chapters on, or in the climax. I’ve read many authors talk about how their characters always surprise them, and I have to say that my characters certainly do. Apparently, if you do a good job of inventing a fictional person, that person will be as willful and impulsive as any real person, and you need to let him or her tell you what is coming next, because, after all, you really don’t know, do you?
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a theme, or that you shouldn’t know the “mileposts” of your story. I’ve read that there are as few as one (1) plots in reality, so the truly important thing is how your characters get from point A to point B. You know where they’re going to end up. Everybody knows where they’re going to end up. If it’s a romance, they’re together and Happy Ever After. If it’s a spy thriller, the protagonist triumphs in the end, and the evilness (whatever it is) is no more. By forgetting how you first thought of your people getting there, you free them to pick their own path, thus delighting you, and your readers.