Happy Accidents When Writing

So, I thought a fun discussion might be accidents you've had that made your story better.

For example, the one that gave me the idea was this:

In Umbra: Unsanctimonious (that's my Umbra rewrite), I was writing a part where Claudia (she became the protagonist when I decided that Simon kinda sucked) attaches a camera to a cat to record things as it walks around. When she gets back to her apartment, the cat is dead, hanging from the ceiling. I then realized that that could not only be creepy, but also a metaphor for curiosity killing a cat. Once I realized that, I thought it was a bit derivative of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but that wasn't what I had in mind when I wrote it, so whatever.

So what are your favorite happy accidents?


Zebediah blew up the Franklin Investments building and hijacked the Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin.


Until then it was going to be a short con artist story, but Zeb made it a real sci-fi epic with an antagonist, intrigue, time travel and everything.


Oh really? TSLADODF wasn't originally going to be a time travel story?


One of my characters, Bishop Darling, was created and thrown in to provide a bit of exposition and humor to one scene. I liked him so much I expanded his role, and at this point he's one of the primary protagonists and a favorite among my readers (and myself)!


TSLADODF is probably the longest acronym I've seen in a while. :P I like it.


Jenny Awesome started as a minor throwaway character that existed because I needed someone perky and upbeat to contrast with how grim a bunch of the other characters were. Then... I asked myself why she was so cheerful and her entire personality and backstory completely warped. Not sure what the reader reaction is gonna be since the first stuff that focuses on her just started popping up. She'll definitely be more significant than I'd initially planned.


I've had a few.


Let's see, in this one store I did for a City of Heroes character, he started working with a Sherlock Holmes-themed hero who hid his identity using a large, obviously fake mustache. He called himself Dr. Mustache. When asked what he was a doctor of, I tried to think of some area that'd be useless for crimefighting. So Dr. Mustache proudly claimed to be...a dermatologist!


Then later in the story, the character is unable to transform into his invincible and super strong form. Instead, he's been glued into the villain's costume (which includes a gas mask and wig to conceal his identity) and had the police called on him by the villain. Who did I realize would be an excellent choice to help get the hero out of that costume? Dr. Mustache, the dermatologist!


Sometimes, Chekov just works that way.


Both of the minions in World Domination in Retrospect are also happy accidents. Moai. It, though generally referred to as a "he" in the story for the sake of simplicity, is an enchanted Moai statue that serves Psycho Gecko. Moai was originally going to be destroyed at the end of the arc where Gecko fought an Elvis impersonator-themed superhero(The Honky Tonk Hero) and a talking intelligent gorilla with a jetpack and laser (Gorilla Awesome), but I wound up keeping him around. Not only has he survived all Gecko's destructive shenanigans, but he's provided good comedy without ever saying a word. I also meant it to be a running gag that it's never shown HOW he interacts with stuff and picks it up despite Moai arms being attached to their bodies when they have them. Like Gecko's always facing some other direction or not paying attention when it happens, but never actually cares enough to find out himself. Apparently, neither has the audience.


Carl, the minion who was thought to be a little slow at first, was also just a slightly standout hired thug for a bankjob, but he's also stuck around and grown. People seemed to like him, so I kept him on. Still a character people like, too.


ive had a few in the comics I script where I completely failed to explain what I had in mind, and the artist Chris went a completely DIFFERENT direction... and suddenly a piece of story coming up that I was agonizing on fitting in clicked, the error worked better than the original! had that happen with some illusion magic, and design of a device, especially.


Ive typoed a hair color of someone before, and realized that they usually wore a wig, had different color hair, and that was ctually important to the story.


You could say that my entire serial was a happy accident. It started with me creating a character for a Wormverse play by post roleplaying game. That character was Chris/Mascot. The title for her character application was "Chrissy Chung - Heartbroken Unbreakable", I even had a picture: http://i57.tinypic.com/244unoy.jpg


I had already read Worm at that point, but wasn't thinking about writing a serial. THAT happened back in April when I sat in the cinema, feeling underwhelmed while watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Someone in the row behind mine commented during the break: "It's not as terrible as I feared, but I wish it was more serious."


Something clicked, and ideas started flooding in, starting with a religious cult of some sort that centers around people with superpowers, and a world based on ours where powers are regarded with suspicion. When I came home after the movie, I made a post in that forum game stating: "I'm going to go ahead and do it. I'm pulling a Wildbow."


Many of the ideas that defined the story from the point onwards were accidents as well, sometimes in mid sentence or while doing something unrelated to writing.


Nothing killed that dramatic moment more than the friggin' web hand.


I agree with Chrysalis, my serial WAS the happy accident. I originally created the concept as a contest entry on DeviantArt, and people were a lot more interested in it than I thought. At first I considered doing a webcomic, but knew I did not have the artistic stamina, but I felt I could successfully complete a story - and I did!


There are also a few happy accidents in my story, but they are spoiler-y so I won't share them here.