Monday, June 2, 2008


Despite a very busy weekend filled with baseball (what else?), June is starting off good on the writing front. Tonight while working on the messy second half of my book, my cat came up for cuddles and pets, so I took a little break and pondered, while the cat purred on my lap. I reached over to take this picture once I'd had my epiphany.
Bingo! The entire section that I removed (because I was giving my character a break) made me realize how my main character can get to where she needs to be organically. I love it when the plot falls into place. The sad part is that the solution was under my nose all this time, but it never even occurred to me until tonight.
I want to stress that a book must come to not just its natural conclusion, but the inevitable conclusion, that things had to be this way and no other. I already had the ending, but there was this gap, where I didn't know how to make my characters go to that place. I made up something, but it was too contrived. Now one thing leads to another and the various threads make a tight braid. I can't help but have a big grin plastered on my face.
Never, never settle for less. I think we know in our bones what the right story is. I also think it helps to pet the cat ... the purr-fect solution eventually does present itself.
Corollary: do not give your characters a break. They don't need it. Neither do your readers. Make them suffer (the characters, not your readers).
The cat and I bid you goodnight.
Ciao Meow.


Bish Denham said...

I'm so happy for you Vijaya! I know how thrilled you must be.

Christy Lenzi said...

>>a book must come to not just its natural conclusion, but the inevitable conclusion, that things had to be this way and no other.<<

I love this. I'm glad your ending came together in a tight braid. Can't wait to read it.

I tagged you, by the way!

Christy Lenzi said...

doh--I see you've already been tagged and done it! I must be the last one left... :)

Vijaya said...

Thanks so much. To be at this point finally ... well, I can see the finish line now.

Jacqui said...

I think your point about the natural conclusion is so wise. I can't be satisfied even with the happiest ending if it feels contrived to me.

I also think not giving your characters a break is important; just keep raising the stakes.

Congrats on the break through!

Susan Sandmore said...

Wow, this post is right on. I have the most trouble with trying to make my characters do what I think they should do instead of what they might actually do. Instead of forcing them, I'll be forcing my cat to sit in my lap when I plot. I'll tell him you said to.

Jane S said...

Dear Vijaya,
I am interested in your writing and would like to know about your availability for contracting for state education agencies. Please let me know a way to contact you (I did not find an email address on your website). Thanks!
Jane S.
San Antonio

Vijaya said...

Hi, Jane,
You can email here:
Vijaya at VijayaBodach dot com (remove the spaces).

I look forward to discussing your needs.

Vijaya said...

Jacqui, have you read Donald Maass' Breakout workbook? There are a series of exercises and the one I loved was on raising the stakes. Until I did that, I didn't know how much I could push my characters.

Jaina, good luck forcing the cat :) A soft lap helps.

Jacqui said...

Vijaya, I've thumbed through it but never lingered. Will check it out -- thanks!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Vijaya--and great picture!