When a Story Surprises You.

More often than not, I honestly feel like stories have a way of taking on a life of their own. A good example is Serpent in a Cage, which constantly finds itself diverting from my main idea and rewriting itself. I’m also getting small surprises as I scribble away at Heartless for NaNoWriMo, despite knowing the endgame and having an outline I’m following. So far, the surprises have been little, two characters and a really cool conversation popping up in a chapter where I wasn’t expecting them to be. That’s definitely small compared to the surprise I got when I was writing out Soulless and things went completely differently than I expected (I’d go into details, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone). So I’m really excited to see what other surprises might await me in this text.

Do you ever feel that your story throws a surprise at you? or is your writing fairly straight-forward and to the plan? Do you find it annoying when it starts to go its own way, or do you find it exciting? I’m definitely in the latter camp, especially because, sometimes, the surprises solve problems you didn’t even know you have. Or force you to try to make sense of things that now won’t work quite as well now that it’s been different.

Anyway, enough of that. Just wanted to express a little bit of nerdish glee over a story that knows how to stand up and assert itself in the face of my furious pen.


    • I’ll admit that sometimes it’s frustrating. I sit there all, “No, what are you doing? This messes up EVERYTHING!” but other times, I’m all, “Huh. Was not expecting that, but well played, character.” So it’s more love-hate with me, I think.

  1. My stories never deviate too much until a draft is done. The most that happens during the writing process is that I’ll throw in an extra scene or two, or there will be new details about characters (like tattoos, etc), or a conversation that goes in a new direction. And often, those scenes turn out to be my favorites in the book!

    But yeah, once I have it all written and I can do a readthrough, then the very large changes become apparent. And they’re included in the following draft.

    • That’s got to be kind of nice. I swear, 9 out of 10 times, my first drafts take a sharp diverse somewhere in the middle…in addition to all the changes done afterwards like yours. Ah, well. Sometimes it’s nice and unexpected and works better than the first direction.

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