Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG - August 2019

It's the first Wednesday in August, so it's time for the IWSG post!  This month's question is an interesting one:

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?

My writing constantly surprises me, both in the process of writing, and once it's finished.

During the writing process, my characters are constantly surprising me with their choices and the things they insist on doing despite my brain really wanting them to do something entirely different.  I'm not an outliner - a couple of pages of rough notes is about as much as I ever do - so I let the characters lead the way.  And their way is often really different from my way.  But I find that if I let them do what they want, the story always ends up better.

After it's finished, I've been surprised a few times with responses to submissions that are over a year old.  With An Unstill Life, I got a response to a request for a full almost two years after the book was published and on sale!  It was a 'no' thankfully.  Not quite sure what I would have done if it had been a yes...  But then, their guidelines did say that if you didn't hear back within six months, it was a no.  I guess I should be flattered that they bothered to respond at all.

The other thing that often surprises me about writing is how ideas for stories come together in my head.  It's like I have a whole cast of characters up there, just waiting for me to figure out where to put them and suddenly a couple of different situations come together in my head, and the people who would be the most interesting to explore within that story just kind of fall into it.  And bam!  There's the basics of the book.

Or else I'll write something short - flash fiction or a short story - and the characters whisper to me that I'm not done with them, that there's more to their story than this tiny moment in time I've captured.  So I have to explore that further.  The thing I'm working on now was like that - a short story I wrote as part of a challenge with my writing group - that's now become a novel.

What surprises you about your writing?


  1. A full request two years after publication? That's hilarious. Maybe there's still hope for some of my queries!

  2. I'm a panster so my characters are always surprising me. But that's what I find so fun about it.

  3. I love how story ideas come together, too. For so long, I was concerned that I would just run out of story ideas one days, but they keep manifesting themselves, so I keep writing them.

  4. Funny, I've never felt like that about my writing. It always just seems to happen the way I've imagined it...