Welcome back, readers. This is part two of our question from last week. We talked about whether our characters can surprise us, or if we should know them well enough that they don’t. So if any of your characters have surprised you, Wickeds, tell us who and how! Did it help the overall story line? Give you a new subplot? Add a new twist? And do you wish you’d reigned him or her back in? Go!
Edith/Maddie: In the first book of my Country Store Mysteries, Robbie starts getting to know local electrical lineman Abe O’Neil. In book two they are dating, and my fingers typed a sentence with (divorced) Abe telling Robbie he had to pick up his son. What? I didn’t know he had a son before that! But I loved it. Having Abe parent 13-year-old Sean makes Abe a richer character and adds some possible conflict and tension to the future of Abe and Robbie’s relationship. Rose Carroll, plucky but usually pious and teetotaling 1889 Quaker, totally surprised me by getting drunk with her friend Bertie (not a Quaker) one night in book five. It didn’t change the overall plot but showed her displaying a human weakness that I think makes her a fuller person.
Liz: When my character Stan came to Frog Ledge, she met Resident State Trooper Jessie Pasquale in a pretty charged manner – Jessie was accusing her of murder. At the time, I knew the basics about her, namely that she was Stan’s future love interest’s sister, which I figured would be ripe for conflict. What I didn’t anticipate was the relationship between Stan and Jessie developing to the point where they actually became grudging friends – while still having enough opportunities for conflict to make it interesting!
Sherry: Seth Anderson surprised me in Tagged for Death. He was supposed to be a nameless, faceless character with a passing mention. But he kept coming back. I wrote a blog post about it on Jungle Red Writers which you can read here. This is what makes writing so much fun — finding things out like how Sarah met CJ and why someone killed someone. It keeps me going!!!
Julie: I have characters surprise me all the time. In my Theater Cop series, I am enjoying seeing how Sully is evolving, and how she and Emma are becoming friends. In my new series, I’ve set it up with one primary protagonist, but three of her friends share the Garden Squad badge. I am working on book two, and I’m uncovering a ton of secrets. It makes it so much more fun for me as the writer to not know.
Jessie: All the recurring characters in my Beryl and Edwina series keep surprising me again and again. With each book in the series I write surprises about the characters back stories or preferences keep popping up with startling regularity. Beryl is not a fan of subterranean spaces, Edwina has a weakness for western novels, Simpkins has a rascal of a brother-in-law. I love discovering more and more about each of them!
Barb: Since the third book in the Maine Clambake Mysteries Julia’s been aware that her boyfriend Chris loves being a part of her family. He has said often, “My family is not like yours.” It’s come out that his parents are in Florida, his sister on the west coast–as far from one another as they can be in the continental U.S. But what happened? I knew some of it, but not much, until it all came out in this December’s Steamed Open.
Readers, do you like when a character does something unexpected? Or do you prefer feeling like you know your favorites so well that you can always anticipate their every move? Tell us below.