Hi, SEers John with you today. I hope your Monday is starting well.
How about those characters? I mean, who gives them the right to walk off with a story that, for the most part, was the author’s creation in the first place? Of course, I’m talking about the fact that characters tend to take over a story and do it boldly without permission. It can be uncomfortable for an author, especially if the story starts to go to a place that is a surprise. But, the characters often seem to take over, which raises a question. Is an author aware when the characters are gaining control?
This post will point out signs that the characters are starting to run away with the show. Here they are.
- The writer never thought of killing a particular character, but the character is lying on the floor in a pool of blood. You better believe one of the characters is behind the whole thing.
- The writer wanted the story to be about hometown America, but before chapter one is complete, one of the characters shoots up the local food store. You can believe this was not the writer’s idea. The writer had never written a thriller before.
- The writer crafts a lovely romantic scene where a couple embraces, and then before long, no one has their clothes on. This was supposed to be a romantic comedy, and we are covering our eyes.
- The writer describes a peaceful Sunday where the family all sit on the porch enjoying the day when off in the distance, hundreds of parachutes announce the presence of invading soldiers. So much for historical fiction. This has become an adventure.
- The writer sets out to tell a story about two friends who will face the challenges of a month-long hike in the wilderness only to have them enter into a complex relationship. No telling where it will end.
- The writer does the research to compose the most accurate historical fiction of the 1800s, and then a character takes off in a time machine. It looks like a new sci-fi is coming up.
- The writer sets up an intricate cozy mystery and decides that Colonel Mustard is the killer. All is well and good until Colonel Mustard is found dead in the living room. There is a character lurking who didn’t like the other ending.
- The writer designs a paranormal plot where the king of the spirits has decided to take over the world. Everything is going according to plan until a slight twist introduces the king of spirits’ ex-wife, bent on revenge. A guess that the ex-wife was not happy being anonymous.
- The writer decides to do a thriller with terrorists attacking a high-rise office building. The leader of the terrorists comes face to face with the director of the SWAT team, only to discover the head is his brother-in-law. Now, what, guys? Standoff or what?
- The writer sets up a story where a group of travelers on vacation is kidnapped and held for ransom. Unbeknownst to the kidnappers, one of the travelers is an ex-CIA agent specializing in black ops. Just when he is going to get the drop on the kidnappers, a young girl recognizes him from a PBS broadcast about his life. Whelp, there goes the surprise, and now we have a different story.
All these examples are for fun, of course, and give you a hint that there is about to be a character takeover of the book. It should be up to the author to accept the takeover or try to fight it. From my experience, l usually let them go to see what happens.
How about you? Do your characters get free rein in a story? Let’s chat in the comments.