When the characters take over

I’m writing for myself in a who-cares mode, and this is what I wait for: The characters in my story are so deeply involving that I don’t know what they’ll do next, I just type along on the laptop as though watching a movie in my head. Night, full moon, coconut palms . . . a setup for some unexpected exchange. Perhaps romance will unfold, or sharp words will ring in the air, or we’ll see yet another descent into danger.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That’s what happened when I was writing An Unruly Pawn — the characters quite seized the story and conducted themselves slightly beyond my reach. They seemed to prefer to be mostly independently from my direction, as though they could exert their will despite me.

When the writer reaches this curious stage, then the line between what is real and what is in the imagination starts to blur. Is this a good thing? Some might not think so! I guess it depends on what the characters actually do and say when they are let off the leash. If they run completely off the page, that might not work at all. In An Unruly Pawn, the characters insisted on telling their own stories, and their interactions tended to drive the story forward, at least for me. I couldn’t NOT write, just had to know “what happens next?”

Manna is everywhere!








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