My writing process for Tangled Magick, the second book in the Hapenny Magick series, was much different than writing the first. For one thing, I already knew my characters through and through, so there would be no surprises, right? Wrong! My characters threw me curveballs while I was writing—especially Leif. I do plan for surprises when I outline my books—well, my writing friends wouldn’t really call it outlining—it’s more of a loosey-goosey synopsis. I know how I want to open the story, I know what the significant problem is and I know where I want to end. All the smaller conflicts and relationships build themselves through the character’s efforts to get to their goal and though I may know some of those scenes and actions before I start writing, but I don’t know all of them—most usually come to me while I’m writing, but are informed by the personality traits of the characters involved and their goals.
In Hapenny Magick the plot line I was sure of was Maewyn’s adventure, and I had to discover how Gelbane, her guardian, was going to foil her plans of escape. For Tangled Magick, I actually plotted around the misadventure of the villain, Huldfrejya, and worked out how my heroes, Maewyn and Leif, were going to play into her plans.
In order to foil Huldfrejya’s plans really well, I had to know how she would react to things—especially when busy-body hapennies were snooping around her chamber! I also had to know how she would retaliate, discover what would throw her over the edge or bring her into the fold—like I said, characters are always full of surprises, and the character you thought was going to be the villain, may turn out not to be. (Oops! I believe I might have said too much!)
Tangled Magick was the first time I tried to write from two points of view. Thank goodness for my editor, Trisha! She really helped me tighten the timelines and make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were suppose to be there.
A lot of writers will tell you to outline your story—the more detailed the better. I say, if that works for you and keeps you on track, great, but leave room for surprises, and don’t be so tied to your outline that you won’t consider changing it if a character surprises you. And, like the character in my new book, The Dragon and the Stag, would say, trust your gut.