Monday, November 19, 2012

The Big Surprise

As a writer, one of the things I get a kick out of, is when the writing surprises me. Now, as any writer will tell you, their characters talk to them. Mine are no exception. They're with me all the time, wandering around in my head. When I want them to do something they don't want to do, they clam up and I'm left wondering where it all went. But as soon as I let the characters do the talking, everything flows once again.

I had one of these "revelations" the other day. Only it wasn't for this book (THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT).

It was for THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE.

You may ask, how can you be writing one book and then get a "surprise" about another one?

Well, all my books are interconnected. I'm not writing a straight series (where one book follows another). I'm writing what I call a "wrap-around" series, where all the books happen at the same time (more or less). It's been an interesting concept to deal with.

I always need to know where all my other characters are and what they're doing. ALL of them. In case they need to make an appearance somewhere else.

Which is exactly where my big surprise came in the other day.

I was working on ENGAGEMENT, when it hit me, I finally have the reason why Lady Olivia is in such a funk in this book. I know, I know, I put her there in the first place with a plausible explanation. But I always knew it wasn't good enough. Flimsy, weak. But usable. And then BAM! It hit me. Not only is Lady Olivia in a funk, she's also trying to cover her tracks because of something she did a decade ago. And now it's coming back to haunt her. But not until SEDUCTION. See, I can lay the seeds of what is wrong with Olivia in this book, and then have it all revealed in the next (which will be the last of this series.)


Writing is a strange business. That's all I can say. Five years ago, when I started writing the first book, I never expected it to morph into a series. Surprise. Now that the series is almost complete, I'm surprised again because I never thought I would have enough "plot" to make it all worthwhile. To be complete. To come around full circle. Fun stuff, this.

Tell me -- When you read a series, do you like it when the author ties everything up at the end of it? Or do you like to be kept hanging, left to your own devices as to what the characters will do next?

3 comments:

  1. One of the things I love about your Regency series is how they all interconnect and the way that even secondary and peripheral characters become more defined with each book.

    I know you say that the series is almost complete, but I'd like to see a few loose ends so that you can always add another story at some point--keep it open-ended, at least a little :)

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  2. I hate hanging endings or choose your own endings. If an author wants me to read their books, they should finish the job. That includes the ending. Otherwise, it's as if they don't know how to finish it.

    You asked - and it is a pet peeve when I see endings like that. Haven't visited your blog much lately, but I drop by occasionally, just don't always comment.

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  3. Bridget -- I think my secondary characters are the most important because they give me the opportunity to create more stories.

    DG -- I always write my books so they're stand alone, but all the novels and the short stories overlap with characters so it's as if you combine them all in one volume you'd have 500k of one giant story. Which is tedious, but works for me.

    And don't worry about visiting. I haven't been around much either. I feel so out of touch with everyone.

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