Does anyone else lose arguments with the characters in their novels?
I'm a fair way into it now (100+ pages) and I was having trouble writing one of the chapters, it took me several days and multiple trashed drafts before I realized that the characters weren't agreeing with what I had planned, it didn't seem what 'they' would do anymore... apparently the characters in my novel now have a mind of their own and it wasn't quite how I had first envisioned them ...
So my query is - who else finds their novel is now writing itself to some degree and they're just along for the ride?
It has happened to me. For the one novel on here that I've marked completed, one of the two main characters didn't even exist in my original draft. Then, after creating an initial version of her, she took on a mind of her own, demanded more presence and personality, put her foot down and dictated to me how she would act in the scenes I was writing.
The male character trusted me to write him, and went with the flow. But she... she changed everything quite dramatically, multiple times. I wrote a bit of a post mortem afterwards, and looking back on it, the final draft resembles very little the initial one, and it is largely thanks to her. I've continued editing for about a year since marking it complete, though all offline, and she has continued to direct her own involvement.
I'm not yet encountering that in my other works, but they're all very early on.
I suspect one of my characters consciously and actively sabotaged a major subplot of the novel. Like, complete derail to the point where it changed significant portions of the novel for multiple other major characters. I had to rewrite the ending because of her.
And the worst part is... I'm convinced she knew she was doing it, too. Like somehow she was aware of what I was planning and just decided 'No, I don't like that ending' and fix-fic'd the story from within to prevent it.
Eventually, as you follow the characters along with what you want in the back of your mind they'll get there.
— Alexandra Sokoloff, quote from Collecting Character
I think all these things, Alexandra mentions, come out to play when we write, and it takes on a life of its own. In our characters, how we write, describe, and create.
Simply put, how we imagine!
That said, look who I found while searching quotes on character creation.
IF, however, you want to write a character from the ground up, a character who is as real as any person living, yet wholly your own creation, then there are three aspects you need to know in depth: the physical, sociological and psychological.
— mooderino, quote from The Three Dimensions of Character
Mooderino is on RRL
I deserve a cookie.
Go with the flow
Let the MC be alive
And hate the life I created for him/ber
Beginning: Weak and slowly gets strong
story. -I'm like, "what are you doing, mc?"
Ending or fate of the Mc: Be becomes the bully he hated the most
Either I had to change circumstances so they would take the planned course of action after all or let them go their way and see what it gave me to work with.
Terry Pratchett often remarked that his characters would take on lives of their own and turn out very different from their original conception, I'm sure I could hunt down some other big name authors saying the same thing as well.
You're far from alone.
But then again I guess its what I get making pragmatic characters.
In the completed novel in my sig, when I first wrote it as a ten thousand page short five years ago, the lead character chooses a name for her legend -disguise- I swear I did not see the pun in her name until she uses it so derisively against her target in the second to the last scene just as I am writing out the dialogue.
I had to sit back in awe, shaking my head, thinking - what a cheeky b!$(H!
From there, I just work in reverse on how they would end up in that situation. Because you know how it ends, the characters have already agreed to the ending, so they won't mess with it. In a sense, it makes me writing things in the past tense even more amusing. The story isn't unfolding before our eyes, the characters are telling it to me as they remember.