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Friday, August 10, 2012

Surprising Solutions

A funny thing happened while I wrote the wizard’s story. I discovered that I wrote his lost love into my trilogy, but I didn’t know it.

She was a throwaway character at first—someone my protagonist meets at a ball. She was a minor thing. She barely even needed a name.

Her role built up slowly. My main character accidentally slighted a lady. I figured I might as well use her. The reverberations of this slight will hit my protagonist in book three. Now, this lady needed more of a backstory. I found I liked her.

As I wrote the wizard’s story, I was surprised to discover that this lady was the exact age of the wizard’s lost love. She was perfectly placed. There was no reason why she couldn’t be the character I needed.

Bonus: she already had a name, so I didn’t have to figure out one for her.

I learned some other things as well. For example, the main character does meet the wizard, although she doesn’t know it. I also learned that the wizard could not have planned things as I had written. I set up the story all wrong.

Great! That means that I have to rewrite my first three chapters. Again.

Ah well. The story makes a whole lot more sense now, or at least it will once I get around to making the right edits (read: rewrite the whole thing).

Have you ever been surprised to find what you were looking for already in your story? Or am I just crazy?

16 comments:

mshatch said...

That's why I love my little list of questions (although it really isn't very little). Each one pulls something from me about my story and even though I don't know all the answers in the beginning by the time I do my story is pretty well fleshed out. The funny thing is some of the character questions. For example, in my recent first round, one of the questions was, does my character collect anything? My first answer was no, but then as I went through the questions a second time the answer changed to yes, and with good reason.

I sure do love my questions :)

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Serendipity in the composure of a story is one of the things that I count on. I just wish it happened more often. I think those kinds of inclusions are drawn from a subconscious, which knows better than the conscious, where a tale needs to go to reach a great ending.

Ink in the Book said...

Yes, this has happened to me! The minor character became someone totally new, but still, she was already written. I combined her with someone else, and her whole character just came together. She really popped of the paper. I ended up loving her. Funny thing is, she went from a good character to a bad character.

Mary Holm said...

My Muse does this all the time. She sticks little tidbits in the story without me knowing it. It's fun to discover one of these unplanned connections hiding there, looking inconspicuous and unimportant. Aha! That's why she said that! That's why he went there! It seems like serendipity, but on the inside the Muse is smiling, knowing that she planned it that way all along.

Liza said...

Sometimes the story tells itself. It's fun when that happens.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love it when I figure how a way to make a clever surprise connection like that.

Donna Hole said...

This is how you know you are a writer; when the characters and situations just fill themselves in as you develop the story.

......dhole

Lexa Cain said...

I usually plan things out meticulously, but I admit to wanting a prop for my boy-mc (as a sort of tactile-mannerism), and the thing I created quickly blossomed into an artifact so important that the finale of the novel revolved around it. So...yeah...things can crop up and catch you by surprise, and it's pretty beautiful when they do. :-D

Liz said...

That's a good way of getting an idea about the story.

Liz said...

The trick is to let that subconscious get at the story more.

Liz said...

But a more interesting character, which is more important, right?

Liz said...

That's just the best!

Liz said...

I wish I could let go and have that happen. I strive for it, but alas, I haven't had that happen to me yet.

Liz said...

It's the best feeling, isn't it?

Liz said...

I still don't know if I'm a writer, but it was a good feeling nonetheless.

Liz said...

Oooh, that's interesting. Funny how these things can manifest themselves.