Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Those Pesky Characters

They spend so much time fussing with me. It's just not fair. Do I not think for them? Feel for them? Motivate them? So what, pray tell, is their problem?

I give them depth. I place them in believable situations. I fill their mouths with realistic dialog. I endow them with characteristics uniquely their own. And yet they rebel with frightening regularity. Again, why?

Yes, I know I toss one problem after another at them, bar their way with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, dangle their dreams mere inches from their grasp, all to satisfy readers they'll never know. But hey, it's all for the greater good, no? The tale must be told!

Elanna screams, “That's not me!” Tobin says, “I'd never say something like that.” “I'm not a helpless damsel in distress!” Abby rails. “I'm not evil,” Nomed keeps insisting, “I'm holy. Really!”

Chapter after chapter they complain, resist, and often downright refuse. Is it too much to ask of them that they simply comply? Well, yes! And I think I know why.

I crafted this beautiful character, gave her purpose, humanized her, allowed her to grow and develop and evolve. Is she obstinate because she doesn't like the life I've written for her? Is she upset that I made her hair blonde and not auburn? Is her stubborn resistance just her way of going on strike?

I've come to the conclusion that the answer to those questions is a definitive no. Instead, I've learned to accept the possibility that this wonderfully stubborn character has matured to the point that she now knows herself better than I know her. And this is her way of making sure I acknowledge it.

So, in the chapters that follow I shall move my ear a little closer to the page while I write. And listen. I can only imagine what marvelous revelations she has in store for me if I simply let her be who she has become.

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