on outlines and listening to voices

the thing with outlines is, well, no matter how detailed i make them, they’re still subject to change at a moment’s notice when i find the characters actually speaking. when they start talking, even my best laid plans are shown for the gap-riddled structures they are.

it’s one thing to say ‘she goes to X because of Y’, but it can become quite another when i write her words at that moment, because she needs to believe it, not me. she needs it to make sense to her, that she would go to X, that she would even want to, that she even cares about Y in the first place. if anything doesn’t work for her, she’ll say so, and then, regardless of how brilliant i think/thought that step was, she’ll decide whether to fight it, bend around it, or ignore it entirely.

i can fight this, too, forcing words into her mouth or action from her limbs, but she and i both know what i’m doing, and we both know it’s totally wrong. sometimes, when i’m doing well, i see this right off; other times, well, not so much, and it drains us both. thankfully, though, she never holds a grudge.

i may give these characters life, but it is they who live.