Do you ever surprise yourself as a writer?

I always find it interesting to see how my brain works.  I used to be very much an inspiration only writer.  I would work on a project until the idea for another hit, then I would lay the first aside and pursue the new idea with the frenzied fervor of first love–until the next came along.  Consequently, for years I had a lot of beginnings and no ends.  Last year when I made the decision to follow something through to the end, it was a radical change for me.  It wasn’t always fun slogging through the dreaded middle ground or figuring out details.  But I finished that draft and set it aside to start a new project.  I had a serial arson story in mind, which I didn’t get very far into before another story popped very vividly into my head due to a metal detector commercial (yeah I know–random inspiration is everywhere).  So I followed the yellow brick road on Til Death for a few months, developing a new voice for myself and trying some new things.  Eventually, though, that book I finished last year kept clamoring for a rewrite–loudly–to the point that I couldn’t ignore it anymore, so I laid TD aside and began the rewrite for HOC for this round of the Sweat.  Now that it’s come to a screeching halt, I actually have gone back to reread TD, and I’m surprised on a few different fronts.  For one, the voice is so different from the one I use in HOC.  There’s a thread of humor that flows through the whole thing that’s much more–well–me.  Even though I’m dealing with murder (and I’m appropriately serious on said topic), it just has a lighter tone overall.  Of course that’s easier as my hero and heroine don’t have a sticky, tangled, convoluted history together like Collin and Kensie.  And I really really love my hero and heroine!  But there’s also a very solid feel of place in TD.  It is, after all, the piece that got me thinking about the importance of writing where you know.  When I decided to relocate HOC, I was hoping to be able to attain some of that sense of place, but so far it’s been lacking in this next draft.  Anyway, the other surprise I had at rereading TD is that other than one scene, I really like all 39k I had written, and I have a detailed outline that pretty much gives all the major events from where I am until the end of the book.  I actually planned well!  What a concept.  There are, of course, some more gaps, but I know where I’m going with it.  So today’s plan is to reread it a second time with the intention of getting back into the heads of my hero and heroine so that I can pick back up where I left off until I actually track someone down to answer my questions on FBI procedure.

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