Shaving the Cat

(No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog.)

I’m trying to find a metaphor for the epiphany I had just now.

I had been idly chatting with RJ Blain, my editor, about character development. She was describing the character she’s developing and the complications that were in store for her. As she went on in detail about how she was going to torture this poor creature, I was suddenly struck with a deep sense of anguish and shame.

My second book was rapidly evolving into a cloyingly sweet, Twilight-flavored bit of fluff.


I took a step back and stared. Sure enough, life was coming along too easily for my main characters. Conflicts were being resolved, almost in the same paragraph. Events and actions that should have evoked intense emotional and physical reaction were waved off and allowed to drift away like a fart in the midst of polite society.

So, I took a deep breath and made a difficult decision. I’m going to have to scrap almost the whole thing and start over.

Humans find the suffering of others interesting. My characters weren’t interesting because they weren’t really suffering the consequences of their decisions. Yeah, they were making decisions — life-changing decisions — without anything in their lives really changing. Back to the drawing board: time to make them suffer.

Meanwhile, in a fit of insanity, I let RJ Blain get her claws into my website.

As for the metaphor…? Perhaps shaving the cat is a good one. I have two domestic long-haired cats. After a while, their fur gets matted and, if I don’t pay attention, it gets so bad that shaving is the only option. Pin the cat down, shave off the fluff. Once that painful process is done, we can start letting a nice new healthy coat grow.

OK, enough procrastination. Time to shave the cat…



  1. […] wrote a blog post of her own about this subject, entitled ‘Shaving the Cat.’ It’s a pretty apt description, and her post details her reaction to coming to the […]

  2. As another of RJ Blain’s victims, I share your suffering. Thankfully she hasn’t found any flaws that have made me need to scrap the work, but there has been some major re-writing.
    Good luck with the new work!

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