Some people just don’t get it. Trying to explain that my characters are not listening to me, that they’re behaving badly, and that they’re not doing what I tell them to, to people who are not authors? The answer is always the same:
“Uh … you do realise YOU have complete control, right? THEY’RE IN YOUR HEAD.”
At which point, I shake my head and scream at them, “You have no idea!” This tends to make strangers run the other way as fast as they can, but my friends and family just roll their eyes and sigh.
You know how you’re told that if you have voices in your head, you’re crazy? This means every author I know should be sent to the nut house.
Plot outlines are all well-and-good, but what happens when your characters start rebelling?
In my current WIP, my MC was always destined to end up with Character B, even though they had some obstacles in their way. But then Character C came along, and she started falling for him. I let her have her crush, and then her fling, but I kept telling her – repeatedly – that she was not going to end up with him. Before I knew it, they were declaring their love for each other. I screamed at her that she’s only hurting herself, that it was all going to end soon, but she still refused to listen.
When the inevitable end arrived and she ran back into the arms of Character B, it felt wrong, stiff, and didn’t read well. She left me with only one choice – a rewrite of the entire last quarter of the book. She clearly made her choice and I had to stick by it. I didn’t plan for her to fall in love with Character C, but I couldn’t help falling alongside her.
Having my MC end up with someone else than originally planned, does throw some spanners in the works. But ironing them out will be easier than trying to force her to be in love with the person she was meant to end up with. She made her choice, I just had to let it happen.
In another book of mine, I wanted to make it really romancy – sickly romancy, but for some reason, the guy in the relationship just wanted to be a brooding, stubborn, whiny baby. So I killed him… I guess I do have ultimate control after all.
To all of my fictional characters: you should remember that. Don’t piss me off or I may just kill you!