Thursday, September 04, 2008

Knitting and Character Development

I don't knit.

Well, I do. Or did. Badly.

I tend to increase. No matter how many stitches I start out with in the beginning, there are always quite a few more at the end whether there are supposed to be or not.

When I was first learning (or should I say, when I began to try to learn before it was determined that I was hopeless), my friend who was teaching me said, "We'll just start with a square."

I think she meant a rectangle, but no matter.

What we ended up with -- or what I ended up with -- was a trapezoid. And no matter what I did with it, no matter how many times I unraveled it and began again, I still had more at the end than I did at the beginning.

The question soon changed from, could I knit? to could I count?

Well, math was never my strong suit, either.

And, sad to say, character development is a lot like that. It seems straight-forward. Christo seemed perfectly straight-forward when he breezed into my life, tried his darnedest to knock Seb out of the way and muscle onto the page.

Hold on a minute, I said. Wait your turn.

And he did. He cooled his heels, muttering a bit. But he seemed to be perfectly clear about his story. I only had to write it, he told me. How hard could it be? He and Natalie. Meant to be. Piece of cake.

Yeah, right.

Turns out it isn't quite like that. It never is, of course, but they sucker me in every time. They promise me easy chapters, words that will flow like honey, completely transparent backstories that will make my life -- and theirs -- easy-peasy.


Can't trust 'em. None of them. Well, except maybe for Aidan Sawyer, nearly twenty years ago, who did exactly what he said he'd do in The Marriage Trap. And Austin Cavanaugh in Marry Sunshine who might have driven Clea crazy, but to me was the soul of cooperation.

Was I living right twenty years ago? Or were the fates just on my side for once?

Because, as far as the rest of them go, Cooperation Rn't Them.

And Christo is no exception. He who seemed transparent when he was a test pilot, turned in his test pilot badge before we ever got out of scene one.

Now he's a lawyer. A rat of a lawyer, if you ask me. Why didn't he tell me the truth? Why did he say he was a test pilot, then make me nuts trying to figure him out before he told me the truth.

And what about the girl in his bed?

What girl in his bed? I demanded.

He shrugged. Didn't think it was important, he said finally when I twisted his arm. Wasn't going to happen again.

Oh, really?

Who's writing this book, anyway?

Sneaky hero.

He doesn't even look like he used to look! He's edgier. Smoother when he needs to be (like I said, sneaky), but submarines could get lost in this man's depths.

He looks a lot like Hugh did in Erskineville Kings. I noticed that as I was hunting up Hugh photos for the Hugh Jackman tour. Especially when he (Christo) started talking as I stared at the picture. Hmm.

Wonder what else he's hiding from me.

Right now, he's making the knitting needles look tempting. Not to start knitting with -- to poke him where it will do him the most good.

Business as usual mid-book, in other words.


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