Jasper Fforde, author of the Thursday Next series among others, offered a piece of advice that I have recently taken to heart. If you've read any of his work, you know that his worlds are well built but sometimes there are small instances that aren't fully explained right away, like when Thursday Next sees herself from afar (sorry, I forget which book). A fan at the reading asked him about this and he said – paraphrasing here – "I think of a novel like a highway and I write in a lot of off ramps. I don't always use them in the same novel but sometimes I'll use it in the next book in the series." So he allows himself to write in quirky moments and characters that are entertaining but not necessarily explained or heavily used in the plot. He said himself that sometimes he never uses the ramp, and he often has no plan for it. But more often than not, those ramps get used.
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