|© Piotr Majka | Dreamstime Stock Photos|
Imagine how boring and stressful our lives become when we don’t leave room around the edges for spontaneous fun or spur-of-the-moment decisions. The same holds true for characters.
- Let your characters do something totally different than the heart of the current plot (notice I didn’t say totally unrelated to the plot). If war is pending, have them race to the river on a dare, let them check the home-brews they’ve started on their space shuttles, or go dancing in the sky. It’s funny how often—in fiction and in real life—THESE are the moments that stick with us and carry the most poignant meaning.
- Time of day can also be helpful. Early morning or late evening and night are great times for spontaneous walks, flights, swims, and reflection. It also provides a pause in the action so your character (and readers!) can catch a breath.
- Have your character meet someone new or strike up a friendship with a previously distant co-character. The novelty and new set of dynamics between the two will help their actions feel spontaneous even in instances where it’s a little more scripted.
So, there you have it. A trio of ways to add spontaneity to your tightly plotted novel.
It’s also fun to track the spontaneous things you do in real life. Next time your friends ask you to get drinks, go fishing in the Amazon on a whim, or catch that flight to Iceland at the eleventh hour, start a list. You can use the ideas as inspiration.
Now, I’m off to do something wholly unplanned and adventurous!