January 27, 2012

Doh! I coulda hadda V-8!

Everyone's favorite American.
One of the most exciting things about writing fiction is when you come up with a dazzling idea for a scene. And if this happens late in the game, when the novel is pretty much finished, you may also find yourself saying, "Thank goodness I thought of this before I published the book!" What would it be like to have a great idea for your novel after you've published it? Talk about an "I coulda hadda V-8!" moment. That would be awful.

So I was very happy when, last night, I came up with a terrific idea for one of the scenes in Xmas Carol. The book would be a lesser thing without this notion. And lo and behold, since I haven't published the book yet I can write it into the manuscript today. Xmas Carol is saved! Praise jeebus!

Sometimes waiting is a profitable idea. I do not want to have a V-8 moment after publishing the book. That would be the ultimate nightmare. (Okay, maybe not the ultimate but it would definitely be unpleasant.)

PS for wordophiles. This is a literary version of l'esprit d'escalier (the "spirit of the staircase"). The French phrase refers to all the great things you think of as you're leaving (i.e., going down a flight of stairs) after a verbal encounter. Alas, we only think of the great riposte when it's too late. I hope to avoid this with Xmas Carol.

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