Jenario wanted to run back, but for Ahnalee’s sake he stayed by her side. Her swollen belly was a sure sign of what was coming in the next few months, and gave her gate a slight waddle. At this stage, any man would have been proud to know he would soon be a father, but Nathan was a different kind of man. He was a Trapper. Big game was his only trait. But a baby? Jenario nearly laughed. Better get used to it.

Some things are not entirely planned in writing. For instance, I use the word “Trapper” to define a huntsman. This was not something planned in my newest novel. It was not something I mentioned in any of the previous books. Yet here it is, defining a role in this particular society.

So where do these things come from? How does a backstory begin to unfold in certain characters, and objects and descriptions reveal themselves when they’ve never been suggested before? It’s almost the same question as “How do you know when to stop a chapter?”

So… how do you plan something in writing that’s not planned?

I find when this happens, it’s mostly because I’ve written out far enough to then go back and start filling in details. Think of it as a painting. The picture’s not complete without details. Otherwise, it’s just a blotch of color on a canvas with no defining faces or what they might be doing.

Once you’ve got the storyline going, go back and define your characters or scene. How do they act? Are they twiddling their fingers because they’re nervous? Anything they’re wearing that might clue a reader in to their environment? How do they speak? Little things like that make a unique experience. It gives you insight to what a character might be like, even if you’ve just met them.

“Finally!” Nathan grabbed up Jenario’s free hand in a firm shake. “Maybe this new place will offer some decent game.”

“You’ll be game if you don’t stop fiddling with that dagger.” Ringlets of curly, blond hair fell across her shoulder when she moved to shield her husband’s blade from the baby.

“It’s new.” However, Nathan obliged his wife’s concerns and slipped it alongside a set of others on his belt. He was always carrying a weapon, and to Jenario’s understanding, even when he was not supposed to.

So here we meet Nathan. In the previous books, we already know he’s destined to be Jenario’s assassin. So why not start showing his interest early on? Playing with a new dagger in front of a baby seems a good start. Eventually, I’ll add more details as the story progresses so we really see how he acts when gets out on a hunt.

So how do you write what’s not planned? It’s all in the details.


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