Why Must You Change?!

So, I’m rewriting my original novel, The Double Dare Bridges, that I started like seven years ago right after I graduated high school.  Well, it’s actually coming along great.  I am liking this draft, which would be draft number six, so much better!  Things don’t seem so juvenile any longer.  I’ve grown in my writing, and I think that shows in the transition from Piercing Through the Darkness to Read Me Dead, but even now, it’s still getting better.  As with all things, practice makes perfect, and writing each day that I can is my practice. 

Okay, I’m losing sight of what my original post was about!  I’m so scatter-brained!  So, as I’m writing, I sort of have my story planned out.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I have a few little lines that tell me what I want to put into the novel, but mostly, I’m winging it.  Which is entirely fine by me.  I much prefer pantsing than plotting. 

But, the only thing about it is that my characters keep changing things up on me!  I know where I want things to go when I start the chapter I’m working on, but dang it, my characters start doing their own thing?!

One of my good friends who is also a writer said this on a Facebook status that I wrote about my characters doing their own thing, “Because characters, no matter how fictional, are living entities :-p”

I got to thinking about what he said.  Boy is he ever right!  I know it sounds strange, but these characters are part of us.  They take form on paper and come alive!  And, yes, they do have a mind of their own, and when we’re writing, although they change things up on us, they do so because it’s part of their character and who they are.  They cannot be confined to what we think they should be.  That’s why I’d much rather pants a novel than plot one.  I don’t like confining my characters, and although it frustrates me when things change, you know, I’m perfectly happy that they do because in the end it makes it that much better!

What are you experiences with characters changing things up on you?

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10 comments on “Why Must You Change?!

  1. I love it when a character goes and does something I didn’t expect them to when I am on a first draft. What gets tricky for me is when they do something different durring revisions. One small change like that can have a ripple affect in your wip that creates more work. That can be frustrating, but still, it’s a fun process to have characters take off on you. :)

  2. Oh, gosh, where to begin? Well, of course what first comes to mind is the Gant-o’-the-Lute example — the minstrel called in for one minor role, who went on to demand his own novel, his own novella, an important recurring role in another novel where, for Pete’s sake, he was already dead!…

    A less laugh-out-loud overwhelming example is a book I began and abandoned partway for about a year, in part because I wasn’t sure where I wanted the story to go. By the time I returned to the book, I still didn’t really know, but I let the characters do their thing and just followed their actions and reactions to wherever they led. And the end result was amazing. I mean, they made a colossal mess of the plot, but that very mess was what made it work; in fact, my trusty beta shares my opinion that it’s one of my best novels to date (which, after the long struggle it took to write it, felt so hugely good!).
    Fictional or not, these people really have a knack for living lives worth reading about. I think it’s because they feel things so deeply. For them, the emotional stakes are always so high. It keeps my job crazy interesting.

    • I cannot agree with you more on that! It is crazy interesting! My character just decided to love someone she never intended to love which of course makes me have to rethink my entire storyline. What was she thinking?! lol

      Don’t you love when they make a mess out of the plot? It always fascinates me. :)

  3. I am a panster too, which means my characters always end up doing things on the fly. Kind of like Macgyver, but I’m not clever enough to come up with some of the improv stuff on that show.

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