An interesting post by author Mark Billingham on how he never really knows where his character (a London detective in a series) is going until he gets there.
I totally agree with him. I know authors who plan out the story arc for their series ahead of time, keep detailed diaries/notes about their characters’ likes and dislikes and know exactly where they’re going in each book. I confess: I am not one of them.
I know a lot of my characters’ backstories but their futures are as much of a mystery to me as my own. I can’t predict what will happen in my life tomorrow much less in two years: how can I predict theirs?
I can make certain assumptions, for sure. But I have this feeling that when I put down my pen, the characters in my books keep interacting, talking, moving, growing … each time I’ve picked it up again, they’ve surprised me with who they’ve become.
Most of us can predict the past; the future is a whole lot more difficult. I’ve set my series a few years back, so that I can rely on real events that have transpired in Cuba as the backdrop to the challenges they face. But as how my characters choose to respond to these, each book (for them and me) is a new story.