Thursday, April 1, 2010
Do Your Characters Order You Around?
For most writers, I can guess the answer to that question. I was talking to some friend's last night though and the conversation cracked me up inside. My friend's daughter was talking about Stephanie Meyers and a quote that she said. She basically stated that the characters in the Twilight series made her write the books a certain way, that she had no choice in the matter.
The daughter thought that idea was crazy. I explained to her that I didn't think that was all that bizarre and that alot of writers feel that way about their characters. She gave me a weird look, but didn't really say anything.
This morning though, I was thinking about this again and I had to laugh. If you had told me a year ago about something like this, I would have thought the idea was a little crazy too. It's funny how I don't think that's too weird now. I can hear all you plotters out there siding with my friend's daughter though. If I planned my novel out, I'd be in control, right? Yeah, that particular habit is something I doubt I'll ever adopt in any big way. For one thing, I get a thrill out of seeing where my characters are taking me. It's that bit of unknown that makes me chuckle and keep writing.
On the other hand, I can see how being in control might make it easier for me to guide the story. I'd be telling the character what to say and where to go. But in the end, they wouldn't be themselves; they'd be mirrors of me, walking through the storyline. By letting them work their own way through the story, I believe it lets me envision them in clearer detail and with more realism.
What about all of you out there? Do your characters order you around? Do they tell you how the story needs to be? And how often do you listen?