HOW NOT TO START A NOVEL/ THE IMPORTANCE OF SURPRISE
Don’t start a novel by having an outline that you’ve scratched in stone with diamonds. First of all, that’s a very expensive and difficult way to write. Secondly, you won’t want to change things. I think it’s essential that you be willing to change any outline you write because of the element of surprise. In this case, I mean the surprise most authors encounter in the act of writing fiction.
This surprise can happen in many different ways. Suddenly a character starts doing things you didn’t expect, or things happen to that character you didn’t expect, or a character you didn’t expect shows up in a “guess who’s coming to dinner” sort of surprise. Could be that the tone of the novel itself will change, giving the whole novel a different feel. Could be many things. It’s the writing itself that puts you in places of surprise. And your surprise will translate into surprises for your readers.
You have to be open to these surprises to take advantage of their narrative vitality and importance.
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