chasing character’s

7 07 2008

Kirsty hates it when I say my characters talk to me. She thinks that’s a load of old bull. She’s a firm believer that the writer is always in control. I’m in the other camp. At times my characters do speak to me and they do inform on their stories. There’s moments when I’ve been writing that I’ve had a quite detailed plan on where the chapter and the story is going and then the character subverts it. In those cases I let the character take me where they will. Sometimes I end up scrapping what I’ve written but usually they’ve suggested a new insight or path to follow. 

Why am I talking about this? I have a character in my latest draft that is being extremely problematic. This character has been in the novel since the first glimmers of the story came to me. I’d actually used them in previous stories and I figured I could easily slip them in. And at first they worked. They added depth to all their scenes, they had great banter with the other characters and they gave the story an edge that I think initially, it otherwise lacked. But then as the drafts evolved this character didn’t really fit anymore, or rather, the way they had been to that point didn’t fit anymore. The further I have gone with this draft the more I am certain this character doesn’t fit. They’re telling me they don’t want to be this way anymore. Which is a pain because it means I have to rewrite their sections again 😦 But do you know what I’m oddly looking forward to it as well. Who knows where this character will lead me …



One response

9 07 2008
edwin mcrae

Listening to your character is the best way to avoid stereotypes, although never listen to them when they say ‘don’t do this to me!’. It just means that whatever it is will challenge the character in a new and interesting way.

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