If characters come from my own subconscious, why won’t they do what I tell them to?
I’d planned for two of my characters, after years of close friendship before the story begins, to fall in love after a healthy and confusing dose of lust. Instead, they looked at each other, screamed Incest! and refused to play.
Apparently, she’s in love with someone else—someone who had a small supporting role before making himself indispensible, for reasons which are obvious now—and he’s still stuck on his poisonous ex-girlfriend, though to his credit, he’s trying very hard to get unstuck. The poisonous ex-girlfriend just wants to be loved, though her definition of that is just a tad skewed.
This isn’t a romance, by the way. This is a mystery. Especially, as it turns out, to me.
There was another character who wasn’t even suppose to make it on-page, except as a corpse. But he was the only way to get certain information to the MCs, without it being a Citizen Kane Rosebud Moment* or rewriting the entire thing.
Okay, so that one was a miscalculation on my part.
So I reluctantly let him live until I could arrange a nice, tidy murder . . . and now he’s one of my First Reader’s favorite characters. She seems to think that killing him would be going too far for the readers. However much I grumble, she’s usually right . . .
But I’m keeping an eye on him . . . and the woman who is starting to interest him and is busy making herself a main character, too. There are fates worse than death, and ticking off a writer may be one of them.
Divert my plotline, will they?
But as much as I hate to admit it, all these shenanigans seem to be making the story better. I like the dynamics among the characters, and the bad guys are developing into real, if unlikable, people.
Guess my subconscious knows better than I do, which is not a comforting thought—there’s some scary stuff in there. As long as there’s a decent story in there, I’ll play along . . . but I will have my murder, by hook or by crook.
Or by a crook with a hook.
Hey, now . . .
*As in, if Kane died alone, how did anyone know his last word was ‘Rosebud’? And while Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz could get away with a plot hole like that in a script, books are different—and so am I.
2 thoughts on “When Good Characters Go Bad. And Vice-Versa.”
Ha! I COUNT on my characters picking up and doing their own thing — otherwise I’d be left with a whole stack of boring most of the time. Best of luck~
Thanks—and you’re right. I’d rather have difficult than boring!
Writing seems to be awfully close to parenthood—my kids don’t listen to me much either.