Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knowing All the Answers

I had a funny conversation yesterday, but to understand it I need to explain what happened three days ago. So, I already mentioned requests from RT and getting those babies sent off. I mailed the last of them on Monday (YAY me!). Shortly after, I told my betas that I washed my hands of the manuscript for the time being. That I didn't want to talk about it, think about it... nothing. Honestly, I love that story, but it exhausts me. So I was looking forward to a nice little break while it was in someone else's hands.

After that, I went to work on another (adult) project. I'm tooling away at it for two days when WHAM! out of nowhere, one of my betas calls me and says, "So... what about STDs?"

At first I thought I'd misunderstood. Then I realized what she was asking. After first chewing her out for making me break my "I don't want to even think about that manuscript for a while" vow, I proceeded to answer her.

You see, there is a fair degree of promiscuity in the manuscript, so it is a fair question. (And not nearly as random as it sounds.) But, it isn't one that was addressed within the pages. For a minute, I wondered if I screwed up and should go back and revise (and resend with apologies). Then I reminded myself of one of my cardinal rules of writing. If it doesn't advance the story, don't include it. Explaining to the reader why they don't worry about STDs does nothing for the plot. Nothing. So it didn't belong on the page.

However, the conversation was a good reminder that, as the author, I need to know about all the stuff that didn't make the page. In this particular case, I did know and explained it to her. Sometimes though, you get hit with a question you didn't think about when writing and you look a little like this...

So, I try to make a habit of (especially when dealing with anything that could be considered controversial) asking myself the hard questions in advance. As for the others that pop up? Keep good notes. Because if you get asked once, you'll get asked again, and there's nothing worse than being an author who doesn't know their own story.

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