In Control

While at the signing over the weekend, we got to talking about characters…namely how much control authors have over characters.

For a lot of us, the answer to that is…next to none.  Especially once they take on life of their own.

For a very short amount of time, I might have a little bit of control.  I do mean, a very short amount of time, and a very little bit of control.  But the more the story unfolds, the less control I have.

Two of my recent books ended up having secondary characters that were supposed to be the bad guys.  Supposed to be.  As in that was my plan from the beginning.  And what did they do?

Put their feet down and refused.

The entire time I was writing the story, I had a set goal in mind and I thought I knew vaguely how each story would end.  How wrong I was.  About half way through each book, the characters started jerking at this chain I had put on, digging in their heels and refusing to do a damn thing until I rethought how I was telling my story.  More specifically, how I was telling their stories.

It wasn’t until I finally gave in and gave them some control of their lives that the story finally started flowing again.

Characters take on their own personalities and once they do that, the writer is no longer in control.  We might be driving the car, but somebody else is giving us the directions and if we don’t listen, we’re screwed.