Then I spent the rest of the morning torturing Piper in Ravenswood, since the novel is suddenly no longer complete and I have to try to write a new climax and ending for it . . . again.
As I was telling my kids over lunch (yes, we talk a lot at meals), the way you make fictional characters do things is to torture them. If you don't torture them, then they act a lot like real people do. They read books and watch TV and surreptitiously pick their noses - none of which makes for great literature or even a fun read.
You know how when you read a good book you get to the end and kind of wake up and think, "Whoa! Where am I?" because you've been so sucked into that world? Well, the same thing happens when I'm writing, which means I really felt like I'd spent the morning, to some extent, torturing Piper in my selfish attempt to get a full-length novel out of her. The poor girl took it all quite well, I must say.
However, I can't have ninjas in all my books. If I ever do become a bestselling author or even (fingers-crossed) a respected one, I don't want someone writing their dissertation on the meaning of ninjas in Amy Moran's novels. I want them instead to write about my use of food as a reflection of family dysfunction. It's a consistent theme, and would make a great thesis.