As empty nesters, the importance of replacing our children with animals can't be stressed enough. So when I lost my brother last year, we rescued his cat and he is now one of us. In the most complex of terms. His name is Darwin. We didn't award the moniker, my brother did. Not sure what he was thinking when he did it.
You're wondering of course what this has to do with a broken keyboard. What does anything have to do with a broken keyboard. Let me explain. Darwin, being Darwin, loves to sit on my husband's desk. He likes mine too, but I often have to ask him to leave. Now to access my husband's desk, he could of course, simply hop up. One little leap and he's all comfy. But no. That's not how he operates.
Darwin likes to hop up on my desk. From there he leaps over to the bookcase, the top of which is currently occupied by a large TV, unplugged. Out of order. He scoots by the TV and jumps down to the other desk. This is his favored route. I liken it to when …
Sometimes the story takes over and as a writer you lose control over the entire situation. They were supposed to turn right but now they are turning left. The hotel was on the right, nothing but an abandoned sand pit on the left. They were on their honeymoon now they are headed for gloom and doom.
As a writer this happens all the time. You intend for the story to go one way, and it just takes on a life of its own. The romcom on the beach becomes terror in the topiary. We all remember Gilligan's Island and the 3 hour tour.
But isn't that what makes any novel worth reading? The unexpected. I read a story just the other day. It was well written as far as the use of language. The characters well developed. The idea good. But the story had nothing unexpected at all. Not a thing. When it ended I thought, well, that was disappointing because really, nothing happened that I didn't expect. I don't like knowing what's going to happen, for me it takes all the fun out of it. …
A common question from readers relates to how real characters and incidents in a fictional novel are. Sometimes the answer is obvious. Or seems to be. If you're an avid SciFi reader or Fantasy reader, clearly many other-worldly beings and events are fictional. Make-believe. Never gonna happen. But even characters and events in these genres have an elemental truth to them.
There are so many times a story leaps off the page as if it could be true. The characters real. And leaves the reader wondering whether the writer has based their story on personal experience.
Often that answer is yes. Or no.
Or might be.
The truth is a mixture of all of the above. Writers do tend to incorporate their own personal experiences into their writing. How much is dependent upon what they are writing and whether it's relatable. Writers also tend to not answer the question. Because what fun would that be?
My debut novel, All About Annie, is a classic example of how this all comes together. The book, …