Guess Who’s Co-Hosting? #IWSG

After spending some time enjoying this group, I decided it might be time for me to do a bit of co-hosting. I took this seriously, of course, and even planned my post in advance instead of scrambling to write it the morning of.

That leads to my insecurity – The Plan.

Twenty years ago (good grief, I’m an old squirrel), Derek swaggered into my brain, charmed me with a lopsided smile, and offered me a steaming mocha. Granted, I’m not a huge coffee fan, but I let him move in anyway, and he’s been whispering to me ever since.

Creepy, huh?

The reason I write is to tell Derek’s story. Unfortunately, the story changes.

Oh, the basics stay the same. Derek + MaTisha = love forever. Plus there’s that whole rise to power and fall to deepest darkness before finally achieving a peaceful, simple life.

But everything else—from MaTisha’s personality in book 1 to the villains in book 4—has changed. And now, I’m not certain of the plan. I’ve got all these colorful blocks that fit into what I’m building, but what’s the end design look like? How do they defeat the big bad in book 4? What’s Derek’s healing process after book 3? Will MaTisha choose to step down from power?

Hopefully I figure it out before another twenty years go by.

Have you ever had a story change on you? What happened then?

About Insecure Writer’s Support Group
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You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

64 thoughts on “Guess Who’s Co-Hosting? #IWSG

  1. Oh, yes. The stories always like to change. Characters, too. I mean, Veng was borderline villainous at the beginning. And, currently, Crimson Night continues to alter its facts on me so much that I think large tracks of the original will be scrapped… I don’t mind too much as I rather like the new direction it’s chosen. On the other hand… it means pushing back the loose publishing dates I had planned for it…

  2. Hi,
    I am still preparing the first book in my story, so I can’t help you there because my first book out yet. However, I do believe that your plan will develop. Maybe, you’ll get some highlights on what you want to do just by writing down what you don’t want to see happen.

    Thank you for co-hosting.
    All the best.

  3. This happens to me ALL the time. There are moments when I get frustrated but then I realize that sometimes, when we think we know our characters, they are changing just like we do. I’ve found that the best way to handle it is to just let them go through their growing pains and stay out of their business as much as I can.

  4. I think that’s why series exist. Stories change because characters change, just like people, over time. Thanks for hosting!

  5. I’m not at that point yet, Loni. But change is part of life: as long as the foundations are solid, any building will hold up. I’m sure your plan will come together.

  6. My 5-book series changed over time. When there’s more than one book, there is a whole lot of planning, and things tend to change to suit the story rather than the original vision.

  7. I think that’s the key with a series–being flexible and going with the change. YES. I have had two series rearrange themselves and several characters kick me around until I got their personalities right. Goes with the territory, eh?

  8. Yes, my stories love to change, regardless of how much planning I put into it beforehand. Probably because of how much planning I put into it beforehand. And the way my current WIP ended up has completely altered the plan for the following book, so right now I’ve got nothing. But I’ll come up with a new plan. Eventually.

    I like what Nicola said about foundations. I think you have a great foundation, so the rest of the story will come together.

  9. I think stories are constantly evolving. You need to get the story out, then write more.
    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

  10. Characters who change on you? Oh yes! My character, Harriet was really quite vanilla back in the early days, but she’s WAY more interesting now!
    Good luck with Derek 😉

  11. It took me awhile but I finally co-hosted last month. Whew! A fun ride! 🙂

    I hear you on the twenty years. Let’s look at it this way – we spent the time working on something we love, and that’s awesome. The stories grow and change and evolve, just like we do.

  12. Yep. I have a historical novel (1859, American South) that was supposed to be about a love triangle, but now it has morphed into a story about race. That’s not a bad thing, but it means a lot of editing.

  13. I find that no matter how diligently I plan a story, the characters end up laughing at my efforts and doing their own thing. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but often the result is better than what I first imagined, so I’ve learned to (grudgingly) trust them.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

  14. I had a story take over the “real” story of the book. Yikes, I didn’t realize I had lost control. After a beta reading, I took most of it out and kept it as maybe a novella/short story idea for later. This of course, led to a major revision of the original story, back to what I originally had planned. Progress going backwards? Possibly . . .
    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month.

  15. Thanks for co-hosting!
    I outline to death, so that’s when mine change the most.

  16. Oh, yes, characters change. And I resist because that’s not how I envisioned the novel at all. But then, I try it and usually like it. An inner voice (muse?) must be coaxing me into it. In my last mystery novel, the geeky kid who was the protagonist’s friend in high school turned from a minor character to her love interest. I know. I know. And Chip, the guy-who-I-thought-would-be her love interest becomes the villain. What? Yeah. I understand what you’re going through. Thanks for co-hosting!

  17. Nothing EVER stays the same. That’s how I know I’m not nuts! Thank goodness. So, fear not, Loni. You’re not nuts either. Phew, what a relief, eh? Thanks for co-hosting. Hope you have a fun day and gets lots of new readers to your blog. Which is an excellent blog, btw!

  18. Sarah

    You’re co-hosting? What does that mean? What does this mean for me (who has been saying forever that I’m going to write for this)?

    Yes. This happens to me all the time. I’m a pantser so everything changes. It’s annoying and also fun.

    • Co-hosting means I help Alex with visiting all the blogs on the IWSG list!

  19. OMG, yes! SOLOMON’S COMPASS. Taylor was supposed to fall in love with the guy across the street. Jake Solomon was supposed to appear just past the middle of the book, be the catalyst, and disappear. What happened? He appeared in like Chapter 5 or something. I started over. Three times. Finally, I said, “OK, have it your way.” And he did 🙂

  20. That is an important piece of a series: the Plan, or Theme. I’m struggling with that myself. Good comments here.

  21. Ula

    I don’t think it’s possible for characters and storylines to stay the same from conception through subsequent drafts. I can’t even imagine to think of books in a series. If someone is able to write with nothing changing from day one, I don’t want to know about them. As we learn more about the story and our characters, we get a clearer picture and hopefully a better story out of it.

    What does hosting entail?

  22. Oh yes, characters do that to me a lot. They’re why I have no choice but to be a pantser! I just go with the flow. It usually works out in the end. Thanks for co-hosting today. 🙂

  23. I have no doubt you’ll figure it out. Who knows, maybe a surprise is in order. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  24. Deb Hawkins

    Thanks for co-hosting! I have had a change or two in a story that pulled the rug from under my feet, but I knew it was for the best.

  25. Ha! My stories and characters change on me all the time. And I love it! Power on!

  26. Mia

    Definitely! Villains have turned into allies, and meanies into really nice people. Idk idk, sometimes I think you have to first tell the story to yourself then let yourself tell it back to you (there are so many people involved in what is going on in my head omg how many ME’S do I have??) and see what sticks and what isn’t right. I like to think it’s like telling a fairytale or legend or family tale. I like to think the good stuff sticks and you refine the rest 🙂

    Of course, other times I tell myself I have this story but it’s in multiple dimensions where so many different things can happen and my task is to find the right story, pull on the thread, and follow that one. Sometimes it gets knotted and I end up following the wrong thread but it’s okay because it’s alright to backtrack.

  27. Absolutely things change. I’ve had characters do things I never saw coming. It throws you for a loop for a while, but then you see — well of course, that’s why that happened — and go on from there. Keeps things interesting. Thanks for co-hosting, Loni!

  28. Some stories develop a mind of their own and it’s up to you to decide when to give them their head and when to pull back on the reins.

    Congrats on co-hosting today. It has been a full day of Insecure Blogging and I’ve really enjoyed my visits.

  29. cathrina constantine

    All the time!!!

    I’m a terrible pantser, and my characters tend to change the story quite a bit after I thought I had it all figured out. Although, it didn’t take 20 years. I wish you luck. Maybe give your characters the reins….

    Thank you for Co-hosting, Loni.

  30. Heh, yeah, before I even get the first one written. I’m putting that breaks on that tho and working to finish. Hold the changes, twist and turns, let’s get to the end of the first road. Thanks for co-hosting today. Happy IWSG Day.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  31. Stephen Tremp

    I have not. I usually know the end from the beginning. But characters do fight for face time and often a minor character ends up as a major character.

    May 2016 IWSG Co-Host
    May the 4th Be With You
    Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

  32. Me series definitely evolves in my mind as I gain more information on how everything works/happens. Sometimes, the only way for me to nail something down is to actually write it.

  33. My first story Polar Night changed A TON from my original plans for it and it all worked out. I’m sure yours will too. I think it’s so cool that you have had these characters brewing for all these years. No doubt when you have their story ready it will be fantastic.

    Hope you’ve enjoyed co-hosting!

  34. Most definitely. I think that’s part of being a writer though. We imagine these great worlds with endless possibilities and then, oh my, we have to pick one and go with it. 🙂

  35. 20 years! That’s a long time to live with a story/characters. As you’ve gone with far with them, I bet they’ll share how they want things to end.

  36. Thanks for hosting (smile) Blessings!!

  37. Louise (Fundy Blue)

    Kudos to you for volunteering to co-host the IWSG this month, Loni! I was so nervous the first time I did it. I’m co-hosting again today too; it’s a lot of fun! I rarely have a piece of writing that doesn’t change on me. I have to flounder around writing until what I’m writing about surfaces. I can start with a plan, but the writing always seems to have a will of its own! I’ve learned just to go with it and not fight it. The unexpected things that happen are part of the mystery of creativity. good luck with your writing!

  38. They change, you change, we all change! It’ll be anarchy! Wait…wrong direction there. Yes, these punks and their stories change all the time. Good luck going forward!

  39. I love that you have the same characters in your head from twenty years ago. So awesome.

    One of my favorite parts of writing is discovering who my characters tell me they are. I have an idea for them, a hope or a plan, but when I put on some good music and really zone out, they they tell me. Maybe Derek and MaTish haven’t told you their story yet? Or they’re bumping into other characters who are hoping you’ll tell theirs first?

    I do know that when you DO write their story, I have no doubt it will be EPIC 🙂

  40. I gave myself a hundred years to finish a series, since I rarely stay on task for longer than a month before being tempted by something new and shiny and dipped in coffee. Less than twenty years is totally doable. You got this. Make sure your characters mark their calendars accordingly.

  41. It happens to me all the time. I just deleted 10K words in a book because one of my characters changed personalities.

    Susan Says

  42. Yes from me too. Plans have to have room for flexibility. (Say, did you font get lighter or is I tired?)

  43. Thanks for co-hosting today. Having a story change on you? That I understand. In my WIP urban fantasy my heroine turned her older brother into her younger brother. I didn’t even realize it until something told me to look back at the character interview/dossier I created for her. I was all WTH but in the end just went with it. Now I’m hoping, she doesn’t change anything else. But stories are like that. They’re dynamic, going through varying changes until we reach “the end.”

  44. Yes indeed, the story changes, because I’m not a plotter. Well, I am, sort of. Still, the story often changes. Wrestling characters to do our bidding is sometimes futile. Hopefully, yours will behave. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  45. Our characters can surprise us in good and bad ways. I tend to have mine do really random things at times which throw the whole plot off a believable course. Doing a lot of character mapping has helped with understanding motivations.

  46. How about a genre change…yeah, that happened to me with my material that is not yet in book form. I had one plan/genre in mind, but after thinking it through it for a long time, I don’t think that plan will work. So, I will start my story under plan B. I also made significant changes to a short story I wrote because of one character, good ‘ole Miles. He will probably be making an appearance on my blog sometime in the next couple months. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

  47. I think you’ll figure it out as you go along!
    Your gut will tell you. Listen to it.
    Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month.

  48. I saw something on Twitter awhile ago that said writing a book is like trying to go a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in your head. And that gets even harder when you add in more than one book! It’s bound to take time- plus, you’re a busy, working mom! You’ll get there, and I’m sure it won’t be another 20 years!

  49. Oh yes I’ve had this happen. Like, right now! So thanks for writing about the issue. Take a deep breath and let your characters tell you where to go. Sometimes just playing with scenarios in your mind can help, no matter how far fetched! Thanks for co-hosting!

  50. Ha, I remember the first time I co-hosted too. That was my main insecurity for the month, hands down.

    I’ve had the story’s mood change on me as I worked through a story, but I’ve always known the ending before I begin writing, so I make the middle of the story go where it needs to go to match that ending.Always gives me a stable goal to shoot for. Just keep playing around with those ideas and everything will sort itself out. Thanks for co-hosting this month’s IWSG!

  51. I think it’s the best thing that could happen to a writer, when her story has a mind of its own and guides the writer’s typing fingers.

  52. The first trilogy I wrote was a short story, that turned into a long story, then a second book, and . . .

    yep, every time I open any of the books up to edit something new jumps out at me. My Cal must be like your Derek 🙂

  53. I’m writing a book with a co-author that we’ve started, stopped, and restarted multiple times since 2006 (yikes! That long!) And every time we start again it is a completely different story. I just hope one day we find one that sticks!

  54. Brave you co-hosting… or should that be helpful or supportive. I’d not know where to begin.

    Anyway change of plan. Pretty normal over here despite all the devious plotting. My debut novel changed in the sense of timescale and in the identity of the murderer…surprised me as well. Subsequent plots/outlines are designed with room for diversions but they always throw me for a few days/weeks. Maybe that’s why each book takes about thirteen years to reach publication. Latest has already changed setting, main character, although not the core plot…yet. (But there are more dead bodies.)

  55. My stories are constantly changing on me. It’s as if the characters in the story become real and they start directing you. Now that I’ve been revising an old manuscript I wrote when I was younger, I’m finding it changing ever so slightly. But those ever so slightly changes are rippling down to the later stories I have planned. Sometimes you just have to buckle up and let your own story take you for a ride.

  56. As a seat-of-the-pants writer, this happens frequently. Once the characters are well developed they tend to have a mind of their own. More than once at the end of the day I hear myself say “boy, didn’t see that coming…”

  57. My stories often change. Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s frustrating. Sometimes it means I’m onto something good and other times I’m just off track.
    Thanks for hosting IWSG this month! Maybe I’ll try to plan ahead for next month. I just remembered I missed it today ( I wrote something anyhow).

  58. I think every single story I’ve ever written has changed while I was writing it. Some of them were small changes, of the “so that’s how they get from point G to point H” in the middle of the story, others were large ones, like “okay, that changes almost everything I thought was going to happen with this character, time to rewrite most of the second half of the story on the fly.” And it was that second one that brought me Shiloh and Alexi, who have been living in my head for fourteen years, and whose story I’ve been trying to tell for much of that time. So I can relate to what you’re saying here. ^_^

  59. I feel you. Characters do change and confuse the writer, making you wonder whether you shouldn’t have stuck to the first idea after all. But then, is it relevant? And what do you do with your extra knowledge now that you’re older and more mature? Terrible. I sometimes think I’ll just scrap my story about Kali and the house. It’s so muddled up now that I’m quite fed up of it.

  60. Oh goodness, I’m late to the party.

    If it makes you feel better, I’ve had Ketayl (in one form or another) following me around for about the same amount of time.

    As for story changes – all the time. I don’t outline very well and when I do attempt to, I end up ignoring it anyway. Especially during the first draft I’ll end up changing directions as the characters take me with them on their journey. Then I have to go back and realign everything else to the thread that won, but I enjoy it. It’s fun to see the evolution.

    Just don’t ask to see the Wiki I started making in OneNote for my world.

  61. Kat Wampus

    I’m playing a lot of catch-up this year, it seems.

    Book 2 of my first series changed quite a bit, but I managed to roll with the punches (it was a battle that lasted 2 years) and now Book 3, despite the reams of notes that I had plotted in advance (a truly rare thing for me as my pants usually run faster than I can) have… um… gone out the window. The overall plot is the same, but how we get from A to B to Z has radically changed. I’ve been wrestling with that for a yearish now, but I’m afraid I have no advice as all my tricks have dried up on me this time.

    And do I go to you directly if I need a racoon tyrant rubbed out or is there a bidding process by which various ninja squirrel clans compete for the contract?

  62. I’ve had plenty of ideas that simmered on the back burner but refused to come to a boil. But sometimes I find characters from one pot can be mixed with a story-line from another pot — et voila — kitchen magic!

  63. Well, y’see, the plan is all there – it always has been. It’s just that you won’t be informed of certain parts of the plan until it’s absolutely necessary. Continue to move forward with what you do know and Derek and MaTisha will guide you from there.

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