Do your characters ever…?

Do things you can’t explain, until the re-writes? Keep things from you until you “figure it out”? Stare at you blankly when you ask them what comes next?

If so, you’re not alone. I wish the next sentence was “I can help!”, but sadly, I have no idea what to do with them either. Really good characters come alive, and we’re as much as their mercy as they are to us. At least that’s what I tell myself. Wouldn’t do to realize they have all the power. 😛

I’ve been working to clean up some lingering messes in Asylum’s theology/mythology/variousotherologies, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell I was thinking at the time. I can see how to “fix” it now, see the shape it needs to take to fill the space left for it in the overall narrative- but I have no idea how it fit into my original idea. I’m beginning to suspect that originally, I didn’t have an idea, and was just floundering along one paragraph at a time.

And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. My characters knew what they were doing, they were just waiting for me to catch on. Nica and Naj had done things in the original drafts that honestly made zero sense, but now they flow perfectly. The amount of changes we’ve had to make astounds me, but the things we haven’t had to change now they’re surrounded by the proper frame work floor me even more.

So the take home message is: Hang in there. They’re ornery, confusing, contradicting and occasionally down right stubborn, but your characters know who they are, even if you don’t. Let them handle it. You worry about finishing.

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3 thoughts on “Do your characters ever…?

  1. Thanks for this! My own characters are driving me bonkers and I’ve actually ended up cutting material that made no sense to me that turned out to be important later. (I’ve learned to save things in a separate word document for times like this.)

    I think it’s frustrating when your characters know something that you don’t and they say, “Write it!” And we say, “But it doesn’t make sense!” And they say, “We don’t care! Write it! It’ll make sense later.” *head desk*

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  2. Ha! I was *just* talking about that with another blogger. As in 90 seconds ago. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do, whether they tell you or not.

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  3. It’s been interesting encountering this in my novel revisions… there are certain ways they turned the story about that made no sense at first but now make it a (I think) stronger story. Of course, I have to go back and fix some things earlier on to help that stronger story make sense but….

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