“[Snake milking’s] a hands on job where you put your fingers millimeters away from the sharp, fangs of asps, vipers, cobras, corals, mambas, kraits, and rattlesnakes. One slip of a finger and, well, its all over.”
While writers can publish in an instant, we have the option of a do-over. Did I really mean to say that? If I tweak this paragraph, does it read better? You can spend too much time editing, but, generally speaking, your work is stronger if you and the work get a cooling off period and can come back to each other when things aren’t quite so exciting.
Which may be why I like writing about people who have to make fast choices with high stakes. Today, while working on SIGHT (book two in my supernatural noir series featuring David Delsarto), I created what I thought was a one-off character.
I borrowed Tarkan’s green eyes because I’ve been warming up for belly dance to his music and gave them to a smart entrepreneur selling above-board and black-market snake venom out of a tiny apartment in Seattle.
After doing a bit more research, I realized my snake milker would need hundreds of snakes to remain profitable, which altered the size and location of his apartment. He now lives in a loft in Sodo and by that time, I’d grown attached to the snake milker and decided to broaden his role in the book, giving him a few more critical scenes with my killer.
Like writers, snake milkers learn by experience, but if I’d been a snake milker, that first mistake — the size of his apartment — could have been fatal. Good thing I catch some of my thrills vicariously.