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When Characters Take Over

I am the type of writer who writes from the gut. I let my characters run the show. Heck, I welcome it. There is nothing more thrilling then seeing words appear on the screen and being surprised by the outcome.

Yes, these are words that may one day diagnose me with some sort of disorder. Perhaps being an author IS a disorder. But that’s okay, because I like being this way.

A lot of my work comes from conscious thought, from me playing with characters and situations and finding ways to form it together in a way that works for the novel. But once those details get solidified, that’s when room opens for magic to happen.

There are times, like right now, when my muse is singing and I’m deep in a story. I’m enthralled, I’m in love, and my characters are speaking to me. They are well rounded, three-dimensional beings in my mind. They have personalities. More importantly, they have will.

It may sound odd, but it’s true, at least for me. I can enter a scene and think I’m going in one direction, only to come up to an abrupt wall.

Main Character: Pssst, we’re supposed to turn left at the water fountain.
Me: No, we’re supposed to go right, the entire script is set up for us to go right.
MC: But I see something to the left, come one, let’s go explore.
Me: We’re not exploring, we’re writing! And the plot goes right.
MC: Fine. But I’m not playing. You go right, I’ll wait here.
Me: You can’t wait here, you’re the star. We need to go right!
MC: *crosses arms, waits*
Me: FINE! We’ll go left!

And usually when this happens, not ten minutes later I’m bowing to the mercy of my main character, kissing his/her shoes, and remarking on this unexpected turn of events and how it totally works for the story.

These are the times I like writing the best. Because it’s not me trying to put the puzzle pieces together. It’s the puzzle pieces already together and creating a better picture than I previously imagined. It’s the times when my brain is relaxed enough that something deep inside comes out to play.

It’s the only time I can surprise myself with my stories. And it’s damn cool.

Presently, my main character is working very hard at making me cry. He’s succeeding. I keep starting paragraphs and he goes and throws in the emotional jug handle. And I can’t wait to clean it up and send it off to my betas. Then I’ll find out if it’s only me, or if my main character managed to put them under a spell as well.


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