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Unexpected Occurrences

December 25, 2011

Today I was working on my upcoming novel Discordant Tones. This is the first book in a trilogy I plan to write that takes place many years after the end of A Broken World. While writing a certain passage in the book, I came across an interesting phenomenon: at times, the story will begin to work itself in a way the author was not originally intending. I was working on developing a situation when an idea popped into my head that perhaps another character who I had before almost completely disregarded could work to bring certain ends together and allow the story to develop towards the path I had in mind. This sudden idea has now resulted in the addition of a major character who brings a different set of issues and personal conflicts to light as well as a different method for solving problems throughout the book.

This brings up the question of whether the author should accept the results of these unexpected occurrences. Before any decision can be made, the author has to think through all the consequences that may come up. One small change can cause an effect like a small stone that starts an avalanche. Later on that change may even affect the outcome of the story. The author is responsible for containing the damage, as it were. Whether the buildings should be rebuilt, built anew, or even moved to another location is decided at the full discretion of the author. Sometimes a change may be beneficial, such as if it brings new things to the table, but at other times it may completely change the work as a whole. Often the decision on whether to go with the flow is based solely on intuition. An author has to be able to feel that he is letting the story work on its own, even as it goes in the way he intends. If this is the case, it becomes more believable and enjoyable to both the audience and the author.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

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