John reports, though I do not remember, that I once sent him an email with the subject line: The Cat Took Over The Scene. This referred to the fact that Tybolt the Cat, the familiar of my heroine Miranda Prospero, once emerged from obscuredom to take over a scene I was writing, making himself a more important character than he had previously been.
Well, the same thing happened last time I sat down to write…with a radio.
I had dreaded writing the scene. I put it off for about a month. It was supposed to involve my characters having to talk to American Air Force officers. But I felt intimidated, because it is one thing to write gods, magicians, and dragons. It is another thing to portray the Air Force. I respect our troops and would want to do it right, but I know very little of their protocol, etc. Now, I could solve that by research…but the problem is that even without much research, I knew for the scene to go the way I wanted, I’d have to violate some kind of protocol…and how much to do? How realistic to make it? No matter what I did, I was liable to disappoint some reader.
Well, I got to the scene where the main characters were holding the military walky-talky and…someone else entirely talked out of the radio.
It happened naturally enough. I wrote a line. Could have been an Air Force officer, but, by chance, it was phrased the way a particular group of people from the novel background talk…people who could be talking out of a radio. People, who could even accomplish what my characters wanted from the Air Force…but people who were infinitely more interesting to me…because they were part of the fantasy (I use the word loosely here. These guys themselves are sf characters) background of the story…they deepened the mystery and wonder rather than breaking the suspendion of disbelief, which is what I was afraid would happen.
The scene turned out to be so much fun to write…and to think I had avoided it for over a month!