Writing My Novels
I have never worked with a solid outline or arc for my novels whether they be mystery, historical or young adult. And this is mainly because I find that my characters seldom end up the way I first pictured them and the plot never takes the route I thought it would. I do start the story with a character in his/her everyday life so the reader can get to know them then I put in the trigger that is out of the control of my main character or starts the mystery. This puts the main character on his/her quest for a solution.
I do have scenes pictured where characters are going to have a certain conversation or be at a certain place but unexpected conversations or character twists surface as I am writing the story. Some of these are surprises or mishaps or problems that get in the way of my character’s quest. I strive not to make these predictable nor so far out that they don’t make sense to the story. They should leave the reader with the thought that (s)he should have figured that would happen. I find that it is no fun to read a book where you can foresee where the story line is headed and what is going to happen before it does.
For the climax my character goes through the actions of resolving the problem or solving the mystery. This has to be fast paced and sometimes at a risk to the character. By this time the reader should be rooting for my main character and wanting him/her to succeed without injury. Hopefully, too, this is where the surprise comes in, where the reader goes. “Wow, I didn’t see that coming." or "I never thought it would be that person.”
I have even been surprised or saddened or happy by the ending of my novels and have said that. I believe that if my emotions are rocked by the ending, so, too, should the readers.