When inspiration hits and a story forms in my head, I usually only see the beginning. I see the main characters and a few scenes. From there I start writing. I don't plot out my story or make an outline of what I want to happen. I just start writing and let it take me where ever. Usually I don't even know the ending, I wait, writing and learning about my characters until they decide to reveal how it all ends to me. Which makes the whole writing experience exciting because I don't know what's going to happen! It's a mystery and surprise.
The biggest surprise for me when writing is surprise characters. Characters that pop up and stay for the long haul. Or characters that inspire the main characters, keeping them on track, helping them on their journey.
Like Amy and Mackenzie in Being Human.
Amy is vampire, one that befriends Tommy. Which is no easy task. The vampires in Being Human are highly distrustful of each other and try to kill each other when they meet. But Amy becomes Tommy's friend, easing his distrust, showing him how vampires really are. She turned out to be a really sweet person, her personality mirroring the innocent child-like appearance she had (minus looking dead of course and being at least a century old.) I have to say, I'm quite fond of her and would love to have a story just for her. Maybe in the future I will.
Mackenzie, Tommy's niece, wasn't so much a surprise. What was surprising was how involved in the story she became. The whole third part she is Tommy's driving force and it continues through the story. Tommy summed it up pretty well in one chapter: I let my life revolve around my niece. She was the first human I saw when I came home, last one before I left and the reason I made sure my need never got too strong. I wasn't willing to risk hurting her in any way. I had to protect her from everything. Even myself.
Every story I've written has had at least one surprise character. Someone I had expected that kept appearing again and again, moving the story along, helping me tell it. Maybe if I tried plotting out my stories, I'd discover these surprise characters sooner, but honestly, where's the fun in that? Part of the fun of reading is the suspense, on the edge of your seat as you turn the page to discover the next surprise or meet someone new. For me it's no different, as both a reader and a writer. I can't wait to discover the next surprise, the newcomer that gives the story more depth or the ending I couldn't have imagined a few chapters earlier. It's part of the experience, the journey.
Fun fact, Being Human has three surprise characters: Mackenzie, Amy and Rissa who is Mackenzie's mom and isn't the least bit afraid of Tommy. I love that about her.