In defense of characters …

It’s a nice idea that writers are the ones pulling the strings, directing the show, the one behind the wheel (pick your analogy), but most writers know that ain’t the way things work. Case in point, while working on my NaNo novel, I gave my male protagonist a job, like you do. It’s important for them to have something to do, after all, no matter what that might be. Apparently he wasn’t satisfied with the career I picked out for him, however, and he informed me that no, he actually did something very different. Luckily he’s a nice guy and he let me know before I got too far into the story, so only minor changes were needed at that point.

Other times, you go into it with a foggy, general idea and without even realizing it, you’ve typed a line of dialogue or part of a scene, and they’ve laid it all out for you. Sometimes to your surprise. (Really? You want to do THAT????)

But make no mistake … it’s always their idea, be it their career, or a quirk, or a habit, and it almost always works better than anything you created in advance. You the writer may offer some guidance or advice, but you have to learn to trust that your characters will lead you in the direction that will make them into them. You will make yourself crazy trying to force them into becoming who they aren’t, and you may find that’s the cause of your writer’s block or why you’re struggling with a particular scene or piece of dialogue. That’s when you need to stop thinking and just write; trust that your character knows what’s best — and not just for themselves, but for the story as a whole.

There will be missteps along the way. When that happens, you may even need to apologize (you don’t have to do it out loud … in case you’re in a public setting), but do it. Give them something nice in your story, something they’ve been asking you for, to ensure further cooperation. (okay, yes fine, you can have THAT)


In offense of characters … (or, in defense of the writer)

And sometimes it’s okay to tell them to kiss your ass and deal with it! After all, they don’t always know the master plan.

Then apologize …


Word count update: 27,164
Happy writing, fellow WriMos! We’re halfway there! Bring on the insanity …