Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fighting with Imaginary People

Since currently I am having a bit of a disagreement with one of my characters, I thought I would take a minute to discuss these tricky little devils that tend to take up residence in my noggin. Arguing with fictitious characters? YES! Are you crazy? Probably, but it works for me. :-)

There’s a character that sort of created himself for the book that I am currently working on. I saw a random guy in an elevator, and there was just something about him that was so unique and interesting. His appearance just kind of hit a little note in my head, and like a Rube Goldberg contraption a match was lit, a rope snapped, a bowling bowl hit a nerve, and soon this new critter was born and demanding center stage.

As his development continued, I began to see him one way, but he keeps pulling me in another direction, kicking and screaming behind him. Now, you might say, “You’re in charge, after all, you are the writer.” Lies! All bloody lies! If I force this character to do what I want instead of listening to him - - it will show. He won’t be three-dimensional; he’ll be a stick figure designed to serve a purpose. A sentence that I would not inflict.

I have done this with each of my characters. I have just set back and listened to them, letting them unfold the story one whisper at a time. This particular one just keeps wanting to take the story on a path that I didn’t really want to go down, but you know what, (and shh! Don’t tell him I told you this) he’s right. The story will be so much better for this depth and the twist that he has brought to the table.

If you are a new writer, listen to your characters, they have great stories to tell. Let them breathe, and just follow them faithfully - - pen in hand!

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