Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This is post number 50. That's not the surprise, however. First: a schedule.

I have the next two posts figured out with their exact days of publication, though I haven't written them. I've heard of people writing posts ahead of time and scheduling their release but I'm not savvy enough to know how to do that.

April 10th - Murder Scene Blogfest
I will be posting the end of the climax from Standing Ground, because that's the scene where the antagonist is vanquished. My other blog will have a first kiss scene from the same book. Noah's book has made for some good blogfest entries, though I've used other books for some of them.

April 12th - 50+ Follower Book Giveaway
That's right. I will finally have the contest to giveaway the two books picked out for when I gained 50+ followers. I still don't know how I'll do it but that will be figured out by the time I post the start of the contest. The prizes will be a writing book by Ray Bradburry and a blank book that has a tree on the cover. I tried to get something that might be of interest to both genders but it's a tiny bit more femme than masculine (in my mind). I'll post pictures of the prizes in the contest post.

Now to the main topic: Surprise!

I don't mean I have news. What I mean by "surprise" is that it is a piece of advice I believe in when writing. I believe that you should allow for some surprises to occur. Planning has its use and if having almost every detail planned out ahead of time works for you, then go for it. But if you let the characters surprise you, the result could be even better. I've had a few surprises of the years, which is the cause for this post. I am going to post two examples but can add more in the comments if anyone is interested.

Recent examples:

1. When writing the 15,000 words on Standing Ground (Hero at the time) back in February or January(don't remember), I came upon something in the first couple of chapters that I didn't know about. Sure, if I'd have done a character sheet I might have known the bit of information, or I might have forced one answer because I didn't know at the time what the character would really say. All of a sudden, when writing for Mad Dash (write as much as one can in a week, whatever their goal may be) I came to realize that the main character, Noah, is left-handed. Not a big detail but I found it interesting.

2. In the urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel, I had another minor surprise. I haven't written much on the book but now that Noah's first is out of the way, I have started writing in it again and my thoughts have gone through the whole story idea. It follows both an angel and a demon main character. Both are male and they fall in love with each other. The surprise? I was imagining the angel talking to his friends after he and the demon (doesn't know he's a demon at this point) finally made love. The conversation in my head included one of the other angels actually asking if "he was the top or not". That led to a confession that the other angel, when he was a regular human, did a little experimenting before being save and the what not. Small surprise.

What can you take from these examples? Don't plan every single detail. I guess what I mean is that a story and characters need to develop. Planning is a part of development but making discoveries along the way is a different part. This is partly why it's good to write more than one draft, a full rewrite, and not just do edits to fix grammar/spelling errors. Because the story and characters will evolve and many writers will have a better understanding of their story and everything else the second or third time around.

I leave you with more questions:
Have you ever been surprised by your characters?
How about a side plot or other story element?


Harley D. Palmer said...

Mine surprise me regardless of the amount of planning I do. It's ineveitable. I think they like to leave the juiciest details out until later then BAM! It's a lot of fun but sometimes it can be frustrating when I need to go back a few chapters to set up the scene first. But, oh well. It helps the story in the end, so I can't really complain.