As I'm sure all of you are aware by now, I'm a planner. Not just a casual planner, either. I plan my books longer than I write them. (For those of you thinking that's not saying much, I do spend about a month on planning, so that's something, right?)
Anyway, because I spend so much time planning, I never expect my books to hold too many surprises. I know that I'll get some, I just don't expect them to be too big, or noteworthy. And I'm okay with that, honestly. I almost prefer not having the surprises. It makes the writing easier, because I'm not sitting there wondering why this character is acting that way, or whether that other character is important or not.
So, I started to write the first book I have planned out for NaNo this year. (Stolen Magick is a YA set in a school that teaches young Arcanists how to control their magick, which presents more as abilities than typical magic scenarios. This school also accepts humans, and the two groups, which aware of each other, and even mingling in occasional classes, are kept mostly separate. Phaedra joins the school after her mother dies. Originally she is though human, but eventually she discovers she has magick too, and soon chaos reins)
It was going pretty good. The chapters weren't ending up as long as I thought they were going to be, and I'll admit, I was a little worried about reaching the 80k I needed this book to be, but the story itself was going exactly the way I had planned. Maybe that's why it happened.
The first thing to go wrong was a chapter being added. I'd realized that there was more that I hadn't shown that could be important. First one chapter, then two and now I'm sitting at eight chapters added.
The next thing was a character forced herself in to the book. She started out as just a girl walking past Phaedra making a comment. When she appeared in another scene and named herself, though, I knew I was in trouble.
Once she was added, another character showed up, this one much more unique and surprising.
The enemy of my character (not the antagonist, they just didn't get along) turned out to be so much nicer than I originally thought. I added too many layers and now she's friends with Phaedra!
Two more subplots somehow wound themselves in there around the two characters that showed up, both subplots will be extending multiple books.
And, finally, there was a love interest that I hadn't originally planned on. Between Phaedra and one of the characters I had originally planned on. Which would have been fine, except that I knew he was dying about half way through the book, and every time they were cute it made me that much more sad when I had to kill him.
Before you say it, I know, these surprises are making the book better, but it's just so frustrating to have to change the basic plot of my book that I worked so hard on to accommodate everything. I'm finding myself constantly thinking of new things that would be happening because of it, and my easy, no hassle book is suddenly inserting itself in to my life.
I suppose I'll just have to go along with it and hope that my other books don't do the same thing. Hopefully I'll have a much better book in the end. Can't wait to see how it turns out!
Do you ever find yourself with surprises in your novel? Are you a planner, or a pantser?
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