I have a deliberate process for writing a Gideon Hawke novel. I build a historical timeline and then generate a story concept that fits into the timeline. I create a rough outline, break the outline into chapters, and develop scenes that fit into each chapter to tell the story. But sometimes the story takes on a life of its own.
I was recently working on the first chapter of Gideon Hawke #5: in the first scene Gideon receives news that causes a significant life change. Then he shared it with his mates, and he and Ruth prepared for this significant change (pardon my beating around the bush: I’m trying desperately to keep spoilers out of this). As I wrote it, the chapter ended with two new and significant characters knocking on Gideon’s door to take him on a short journey. Nice ending…great segue for the second chapter. All is well. Except…
In my outline, the next scene was to be in a new location, after the short journey. But then I realized I was missing a golden opportunity! You see, that short journey is chock full of potential! Here we can learn more not only about these two new characters and their backgrounds, but also the environment into which Gideon is headed. The dialogue almost wrote itself! Suddenly I realized my story had picked up a new scene on which I had not planned: a new scene which could be pivotal for introducing the reader to Gideon’s new reality.
Sometimes an author just has to let the characters be themselves, and the story will create itself. When that happens the real challenge is just trying to keep up!
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