A few days ago I'd been to Wichita Falls and was now on my way home, a twenty minute drive. I pulled onto the freeway from the exit ramp and entered the Twilight Zone. It was so weird. Of course I entered on the right hand lane. And as far ahead of me as I could see were motorcycles. As far behind me as I could see were motorcycles. A parade of them. They were traveling in one lane at a steady pace, not too fast, not too slow.
Now to take my turn off of I-44 to 287, I needed to be in one of the two left lanes. So, I looked back to see if there was an opening. After all, I couldn't run down a motorcylist. That's when it got really bizarre.
No other cars were visible in any lane, in either direction. Nothing but guys and gals on motorcycles. I was spooked. The music theme from the old TV show Twilight Zone, echoed in my ears. I was the lone car. I wanted to go home.
Close to panic, I zipped between two motorcycles. The guys probably were yelling "You silly old lady. What are you doing?" (Maybe not in exactly those words, but something similar.)
I took the 287 exit and soon was safely home.
My writing is a lot like this experience, which I laughed about later and tried to find out what they were doing. Anyway, when I start a new story, I have a good idea of where I'm going. Not all the details, necessarily, but a road map of sorts guiding me in the right direction to my end destination.
Like the parade of motorcycles, however, surprises sometimes await me and I have to adjust my thinking and my actions. Characters are notorious at popping up and telling me to do this or that. They delight in changing my direction. They often have other plans and want to do things their way. So I go along with them, even though I may question their reasons and ask them why they're interferring with my plans.
It turns out, most of the time my characters are right.
How about you? Do your stories ever go in totally opposite directions than you originally thought?