When Characters Have a Mind of Their Own

I’ve been posting entries to this blog for a few months shy of three years now and believe it or not, I’ve never written a January post. I don’t know the reason why – all I can think of is that life got busy (which most likely means I was drowning in school work) – but it’s the sad truth.

This year I’ve decided to make a promise – I guess you could call it a New Years Resolution if you really want to. Let it be known and recorded right in this opening blog entry of 2016 that I am going to make a concerted effort to post at least once a month on this blog. See, now that I’m done school and only working, I think I’m going to have more time to dedicate to my writing, which means that (in theory) I should have more stories and tips to share here.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk some writing.

As my last post suggested, I’ve now switched back over to working with the familiar characters from my trilogy’s universe. For the most part I’ve been working on the collaboration pieces with my writing friend, but that’s been a little difficult to progress much in since she’s been so busy with school and work and life. I totally understand why she hasn’t been able to find the time to write (I was there myself this time last year), so I started working on a new short story for the collection, one that doesn’t have anything to do with her character. It’s been coming along, but sometimes I find that I hit that point where the story gets a bit dull – that’s where I am now. This is when I need to take a step back from it, work on something else for a little while, and then come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.

So this is where I am now. I’ve picked up another older piece – one that I apparently haven’t worked on in many months – and am going to work on it for the time being. It’s still set in the same universe so I have that comfort and knowledge of the characters that I need right now, but it’s different too because only one of the original characters from the trilogy is in it; the rest of the supporting cast (if you could call them that) are new characters that haven’t been seen anywhere else before.

I’ve mentioned this novella before, but only in passing. It’s never been discussed before in detail. Since it’s set during the events of my trilogy, I don’t really want to give anything away, but I will say that it’s turned out to be very integral to my overall story plot line. What started out as a piece to let me hold onto a character I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to yet has become a major turning point in the series.

See, when I began working on this story, I had a clear point where it was going to begin and where it was going to end. Those things were absolutely firm, I told myself, since I’d already written the events leading up to it and happening afterwards. But then I started working with the character again, showing his interactions with these new characters I’d created and I realized that the way I wanted the novella to end originally just wasn’t going to work any more. The character had changed and changed far too much for my original ending to sound believable.

So what is the point of telling this story, you ask? I don’t really know if there is one exactly. I guess if you wanted to take something from it you could say that the characters always win out in the end – at least that’s what I’ve found in my experience. You can plan and plot something down to a t, but if a character decides to change or evolve, you can’t really force them down that original path. If you do, it’s going to sound forced or unrealistic. Just let them be them. Write the story that they want to tell as well.

Alright, I think that’s it for me today. Keep writing everyone! And remember to listen to your characters.

Until next time.

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