Listening to Characters

They say that characters will write your story for you if you make them believable enough.  I had an experience last week that may, in my eyes, prove it right.

I thought that my novel would go down a particular road, that the plot would unfold in a particular pattern.  I thought this so much that I anticipated a long-term plan for it.  But as I wrote the latest chapter this week, I noticed that some of my characters were in clear and vocal opposition to the plan.  Now it seems that I’m rushing to catch up with them.  This doesn’t seem right, does it?  Characters should be doing what the author tells them to do, not the other way around.

Perhaps it was me speaking to myself through the characters instead.  That does happen in writing when an author can’t seem to get his shit out, so he uses the characters as surrogates to get his opinions out to the audience.  In this case, the audience was just me.  I guess the plot was nagging on me a little, I let that doubt slip out through one character and, before I new it, nearly half my cast was calling me out.

My point is this: don’t be afraid to listen to what your characters are saying if you want to know where your fiction might be destined to head towards.  It may very well be your conscience trying to grab your attention.

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