Some writers don’t like it, some don’t mind it, some enjoy it and others absolutely adore it – I’m one of those who adore it, whenever and however it happens – Yes, I’m back to talking about when characters take over and surprise you.
I’ve worked out what it is I like so much about characters going their own way.
When characters take off and say their own words or do their own thing, it’s unexpected. Heck, I’ve got one character who tells his own jokes, jokes I have never heard before. They’re bad jokes, and often rude, but they make me laugh and they go into the book for that reason. It’s who he is, that’s his character, and to me he lives and breathes.
Interestingly (and I’ve never told you this before), Jim was supposed to be a Bad Guy in the Good Guy group. He was supposed to really dislike Jackie, but he wouldn’t go that way one iota. He secretly adores her and respects her, and most of his verbal challenges (fun stuff) is directed her way.
From a writer’s point of view, I love characters strutting their own stuff because it gives me a chance to see them as though outside my imagination, as an outsider would – as a reader would. It gives me a chance to immediately see if they work well (or not), rather than go through the usual routine of putting a project aside for months at a time to see it with fresh eyes and a clean-slate mind. Of course that has to happen, too, but it’s great to “meet” them outside of my immediate expectations.
Every book so far, including the one I am currently working on, has characters who express themselves in their own way. I watch them do it and enjoy what they show me and let them do their thing. I’ve never yet been disappointed with where they take me or what they display about themselves.
I should perhaps point out that “going their own way” still happenings within the environment and situation I’ve given them. They are just being true to themselves with the talents or experiences I’ve decided are theirs. In effect, I’m putting them to work. I’ve put in the programming and, if I pay attention to them, they will make writing their story so much easier. I don’t have to work out every move – they’ve done it for me.
What’s not to like? Why shouldn’t writing be fun? 😀