No, I'm not talking about taxes. I got them all finished and mailed on April 12th. I'm talking about Revisions. Oh, yeah. I've finished the first draft of my current Kelly Flynn Knitting Mystery and am ready to dive into "Revisions, Round One." I put my manuscripts through at least five or six rigorous revisions before sending it to my editor. Then, she gets a crack at it.
As many of you have heard me say before, I always write my novels straight through first with minimal revisions. If it jumps out at me, I fix it. Otherwise, I keep telling the story. I've been writing this way for years and years, starting when I was writing historicals. I had a very experienced multi-published author tell me years ago: "Unless you've got the story down on paper, you've got nothing to talk about, let alone revise." Her motto was: Tell the story first. Then, you start looking for the problems.
And, once you start looking--boy, do you find them. I'll find that I need another scene here or need to re-write a scene there, need to move the clues I've planted---stuff like that. Other times, I'll find that something isn't working with a secondary character and lo and behold---they'll morph right in front of my eyes. That's happened so many times, I've almost come to expect it.
Characters are alive as far as I'm concerned, and they'll often do things I hadn't planned. Of course, that means I have to re-plot around these headstrong players, but that's par for the course for a novelist. I learned a long time ago that characters had a mind of their own, and I needed to pay attention. After all----it's their story, not mine.
For those of you who are writing fiction, have you had any surprises from your characters lately?