When working on the first draft of a mystery, or any story for that matter, I find there are few things better than having all the bits and pieces of the story fall into place. Sometimes the result is planned and everything works out as I envisioned. Other times, I’m completely taken by surprise by the way various plot and character elements click together. Actually, I’m probably taken by surprise more often than not, but pleasantly so!
When I started writing my most recent cozy mystery, I had no idea that the main character and her love interest had known each other when they were younger. I only realized that when I reached the scene where they meet for the first time in the course of the story. It was as if the characters had already known that they had a history and simply didn’t get around to telling me that until that point. But it made complete sense once I was aware of it and it seemed to fit the story so perfectly. In fact, the more I wrote, the more I realized how important that aspect of their relationship was to the rest of the story. It provided a foundation for the relationship story arc and made the characters’ interactions more believable.
With past manuscripts, I’ve had a character do or say something early on that didn’t seem to have much significance, but then later on in the story I realized that it was actually quite important and played a significant role in tying various elements of the story together. I don’t know if I’m aware of these things subconsciously all along or if it’s just dumb luck that allows me to plant seeds along the way that grow into something more later in the story. Either way, I love it when all the puzzle pieces fit together in an unexpected but satisfying way.
Are you often surprised by the way the pieces of your story fall into place?