Thursday, March 18, 2010

Serendipitous surprises

I love it when something cool happens in the writing process that I didn't plan ahead of time. Just like a reader enjoys being surprised (most of the time) by what happens in a book, I like to be surprised while I'm writing it. It's a large part of what makes writing enjoyable. The characters take on a life of their own and do things I never expected, and sometimes these surprises turn out to be major plot points.

When I'm planning a book I write chapter by chapter outline that contains the major events of each chapter, nothing more. It's a guideline with lots of room for detours. Sometimes the detours are lengthy.

For example, in Hexed I had a priest and a rabbi walk into a pagan bookstore as a joke and it turned out to become a major subplot of both that book and Hammered

Right now, as I'm writing Hammered, a trip to Asgard that I thought was going to take one chapter has now taken four. And because of the way things have developed, there is going to be a vampire problem that I never outlined at all, but I can't wait to write it. Jesus was to make a cameo appearance in chapter four, but now he's going to be pushed back to chapter nine or ten because of other events that have developed in the meantime.

After the book is finished I like to compare the outline to the finished product. All the events of Hexed I had outlined are in there, but they're in a different sequence than I originally planned and there are several bonus events that crept in, like the priest and rabbi subplot.

25K on Hammered now. And if anyone knows a reliable Hebrew speaker, give me a shout; I need to translate a couple of sentences for the book.


  1. You pushed back JESUS?! His publicist is going to be pissed...

    Kidding of course: it all sounds great!