Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: Taken by Surprise





Today is Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. This is a monthly event where we share the ups and downs of our writing journeys, and encourage and support our fellow writers on theirs. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. Please go HERE if you'd like to sign up.

The awesome co-hosts for this month's posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner! And thank you so much to our founding ninja father and host, Alex Cavanaugh

If you're struggling with a topic, here is the optional question for this month's consideration: 

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? 
(For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd 
forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?)

What flows from the fingers to the page is often surprising, even for those--like me--who use an outline. Because an outline is only a guideline that I follow until my muse takes me in another direction. Sometimes it's a power struggle though, and I have to compromise. 

In my current WiP, my victim aka "dearly departed dead guy" keeps speaking like a 1940s gangster. He is NOT a gangster. He's a modern day dance instructor whose dance studio specializes in themed dances for special occasions. 

But sometimes, when they insist, you have to compromise. DDDGs most recent wedding gig had a Roaring Twenties theme, and in fact, he sort of died in the line of duty (dancing duty, that is) still wearing his 1920s duds. So I'm allowing him a few 1920s phrases of the Molls and Dolls variety so he'll cooperate. 

What about you? 
Any surprising (aka willful) character struggles? 
Surprise acceptance letters?
Unforeseen twists?



28 comments:

  1. It's so challenging when characters won't cooperate :) Love the idea of your victim's profession as a dance instructor. Sounds fun. Looking forward to reading it when it's published!

    Cheers - Ellen

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    1. I try to pick a new location within the main setting--this time it's a dance studio :)

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  2. I think that will just add another layer of personality to DDDD.

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    1. He is full of personality--and of himself. LOL.

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  3. Maybe he is a gangster and no one knows it...including you!

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    1. Now that's an interesting angle...*stares into the distance contemplating the possibility...*

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  4. Outlines are useful, but you're right. The muse will take over! I love to see where my characters take me.

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    1. Outlines are a only a guideline for me. Thank goodness new and creative ideas occur to me along the way to keep things exciting.

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  5. I'm with you on outlines. That why I always title mine "Provisional Outline." Then my brain doesn't have a hissy fit when I don't follow it or change it. And characters certainly do get their own ideas about their personality. I've never quite figured out how that works, but it's strong evidence of an alternate dimension.

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    1. I have to do an outline because when you're writing mysteries, certain things need to be planted. But I think up cool stuff along the way that fits or improves the story line.

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  6. Characters can sure be stubborn.

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  7. I prefer the outline, then allow for detours as I go. It's what makes the journey fun.

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    1. Ha! I like "detours"! The description is so apt.

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  8. I am discovering that we have to be open to changes in characters and plot lines too. I just have changed the focus of some of my secondary characters. Hopefully both of our changes will be good ones.

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    1. Secondary characters can sometimes steal the show. I know my Franny character does, all the time.

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  9. Sometimes you just have to relinquish control a bit. It seems that you've found a perfect compromise with your dearly departed guy.

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    1. Yeah, it worked out. As long as everyone is reasonable ;)

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  10. I love it when my muse takes over because the idea are better than I thought of at first and only need editor to spruce them up. Happy IWSG day.

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    1. Oh yeah, these characters certainly have great ideas.

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  11. LOL; sometimes my characters force me to rewrite scenes too. And endings.

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  12. LOL on your DDDG's linguistic quirks--and on that name for him! Characters can be bullies :) I have a tendency to think mine up as one-sided sorts, and they fortunately tend to teach me they are human beings. Got a nice surprise in my latest book from someone I'd thought was just a little comic riff.

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    1. Oh he thinks he's pretty cool, but I've got news for him! LOL.

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  13. Dearly Departed Dead Guy sounds fun! That's awesome how you can compromise with your characters like that. Most of mine are too stubborn, and I have no choice but to cave to their whims, LOL.

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  15. That's funny he wants to speak like a gangster. I love how you fit it with the story.

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