Friday, May 24, 2013

Rebellious Characters

I find myself once again the victim of a revolt by a character. Two of them, in fact. Yes, I know that some authors swear that their characters never engage in rebellious behavior. After all, writers "create" characters. We make them up. We set them in motion. Characters should do what writers tell them to do. That is one school of thought, and some writers swear that no character in any of their books has ever refused to do what he or she wanted that character to do. I, however, am one of those other authors who admits to sometimes being shoved around by his or her characters.

This time, I was zipping along, plot outlined, sure of where I was headed. And then the character who I had identified as my killer staged a mutiny -- held up a hand and said, "Not so fast, Shakespeare." It was true that the ending I had in mind did have some resemblance to one of the Bard's tragedies. But I didn't appreciate the sarcasm. Especially when that raised hand stopped me dead in my tracks.

Having experienced such mutinies at least a couple of times before, I had given my other characters equally good motives for needing/wanting my victim dead. When my character with the raised hand refused to budge even after we had spent a day arguing with each other, one of the other characters stepped up and confessed to the crime.

Problem solved? Not by a long shot. The character who had confessed informed me that we were about to have a major plot change. "Oh," I said. "Is that really necessary?" I was assured that it was not only necessary, but would add another twist -- a twist that I thought a bit controversial. "Do we really want to go there?" I said. "You may not want to, but I do," my character said. It seems there is an issue that I hadn't planned to give a great deal of consideration but that my killer thinks is important.

Well, the issue is interesting. But this new twist requires additional research. I don't want to do more research. I want to keep writing. However, since my character, the killer, has convinced the others that nothing else should happen until I get off my writer's duff and go do the research . . . oh, and by the way, we're going to have a second victim. Right, terrific, another crime scene. Can't wait.

The really irritating aspect of all this is that I had a schedule, a word count that I had planned for the next month. So many words each day and the first draft done. Now because of two rebellious characters, my plan is in disarray. I am hoping that the characters know more than I do about what should happen.

But this is rather distressing because I had planned with this new series to be in control of the process. To power my way through the first draft. To outline the plot and go with it.

I haven't tried to do character bios. I always do that with my Lizzie Stuart series. But with the first book in this new series, and now the second, I have had only character sketches. Maybe it's the difference between writing a first-person amateur sleuth and writing a third-person, multiple viewpoint police procedural. My assumption was that third person characters would develop as I wrote and behave themselves. That didn't work in the first book, and it isn't working in the second. I might need to sit down and do those character bios.

Of course, since rebellious characters are nothing new in my writing experience, maybe it doesn't matter a lot. Bio or no bio, knowing more about them when I start or not, my characters are going to let me know when they don't like where the whole thing is headed. I hope this is my wiser subconscious trying to get my attention. I like that explanation better than thinking I'm just a wimp who gets pushed around by "people" who only exist in my head.


Charlotte Hinger said...

Frankie, the characters I have in mind usually don't show up for the book.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Frankie, the characters I have in mind usually don't show up for the book.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

That's also a problem. Sometimes they just refuse to be who you want/think they'll be.

aliya seen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aliya seen said...

Nice blog. We should trust on authors or writers as they can see that things which we might can't see. They have to think on different factor of the story so that makes their writign best. I am completely in favor of them.