Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Surprises in Writing

    Along my journey of writing a novel, I have experienced a few things that have really surprised me. Since this is my first attempt at writing anything more than a short story or report for some class, I have been a little taken aback by certain things. I never before would have thought that these things would have happened. I have been very pleasantly surprised.

   The first thing that has surprised me is my characters. They do things on occasions that I don't expect. I'll be happily writing along and all of sudden stop and think, wow I wouldn't have expected that from you. I expect them to go one way and at the last minute they decide they want to go the other. For example, in my novel, I have a character who is a supporting character. Throughout the whole first part of the story I thought he was going to be interested in my lead character. I wrote the beginning of the story that way, until I was writing a particular scene. In this scene one of the other support characters came up to him and just like that, they were together and he was no longer interested in the main character. I didn't think that they would make up their own minds. I thought that I would be in complete control over all they do and say. Boy, was I wrong.

   Another thing that surprised me is surprises. What do I mean by this? I'll be writing a scene and put something little in, for example a look, smell, or a sentence. At the time it will be completely benign. However, later that little thing will have such a deeper meaning. For example, my main character, Emma, says that her Aunt always smells like summer. I wrote this in my first chapter. When I wrote it I wasn't thinking anything about it. It had no deeper meaning than she smells like summer. However, two chapters later we find out there is a particular reason as to why she smells like summer. It's much deeper than just a smell. When writing that sentence however, I didn't know that. This has happened to me on multiple occasions and each and every time I am completely marveled by it.

   This journey of writing has taken me by surprise in many ways, these are just two that stand out the most. Have you had many surprises? If so please share them with me. I'd love to hear about them.


Sarah Pearson said...

I love surprises. In the first story I wrote, I discovered my MC had a sister that I never knew about :-)

J. A. Bennett said...

That is one of the funnest things about writing a book. With my current novel I was really surprised at how much my two leads like each other. I was planning on them having a silly friendship that would develop as the story progressed, but the first time I got them in a room together the sparks were flying!

Plamena Schmidt said...

It really is a surprise when characters do something we don't expect. One time I had one of my characters hit a door, and I was like, 'Whoa, you're supposed to be all calm and collected, what happened?' But even weirder is when you're writing along and then a character you didn't even plan just pops up. Like they're sitting there, frowning, and you know that they're going to be a big character.

Also, great blog!

leslie said...

I love you Jess! I never got to meet your mom but I sure miss having her around. She would have been a great mother in law and I know from knowing you and Tom that she was a great person. You know she is proud of both of you<3

Clare said...

I completely understand why you mean regarding the romantic interests.

I have three MCs and their love interests are all planned out. The first MC is happily flirting with her love interest. The other two are forming connections with the wrong people. In fact they're forming connections with each other's love interests. I never told them to do that! LOL

Good luck with your novel, I hope it continues to surprise you in good ways.

Jessica Salyer said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! Glad I'm not the only one.

Sarah- That definitely would have been a surprise!

JA- I know what you mean. I meant to make a kind of love triangle, but I couldn't even do that. Two of them just had way too much chemistry.

Plamena- Thanks for stopping by! I know what you mean, I thought one of my characters was going to be a lot more aloof than he has turned out to be.

Leslie- Awe. Love you too Honey!

Clare- Thanks for stopping by also! Isn't it funny how they don't listen to you and do what they want to. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

Hi Jessica. I'm here from the Pay It Forward blogfest. Thanks so much for signing up.

And I wasn't following your blog until just now, so the fest is working!