Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night and start writing I mix things up. I’ll confuse homonyms, I’ll drop words out of sentences, I’ll imagine that I know anything at all about mixing glue. I’ll get my characters the wrong way around.
I don’t know why I do this. I actually kind of thought I had spelling hardwired somewhere, so the fact that I’m capable of screwing up homonyms sort of boggles my mind. I start looking over my shoulder and going, Did someone else type this? It’s not really an issue though. Cause I can fix that. I can fill in the missing words, and I can look up the recipe for glue, and tell myself I’m an idiot. (I’m good at that.) Getting my characters the wrong way round I can’t fix. But then again, sometimes I don’t need to.
This sort of thing usually goes one of two ways. Sometimes I just bury my hands in my hair and yell, WHY?? at myself.* Because there’s not a lot I can do about it if I’ve written a scene with my characters playing each other’s parts. I pretty much have to throw it away.
But sometimes, instead of screaming I blink a lot, and then very quietly say, Oh. Because I just opened up a whole new world.
Now, to be fair, that last one doesn’t happen a lot. But the fact that it has happened is probably to blame for the fact that when I’m struggling with a story one of my go-to options these days is, What if it was backwards? What if it wasn’t Character A in this situation, but Character B?
Usually this doesn’t get me anywhere because there’s a reason Character A was there in the first place. But sometimes — whole new world.
I find this disconcerting. I shouldn’t be able to flip plotlines around characters like that. It certainly shouldn’t make it better.
But I guess my subconscious mind is a lot smarter than I am. So it turns out I’m writing a different book than I thought I was. But it’s going to be better.**
* And because I hang out with some very helpful people there’s usually then a responding cry from somewhere else in the house, WHY NOT?
** So the last week of hitting my head against things was totally worth it. So there.