lunes, 13 de mayo de 2013

Who’s in charge: You or your characters?

2 comentarios

This is one of those questions that seem almost absurd, because, of course, you are in charge. Your characters don’t really exist. They’re figments of your imagination, created for a specific purpose. They have not life of their own. You decide how they look, what they’re wearing, and even who they like. In the world of your own creation, you’re like God, and they, they get no say in what’s going to happen.

Except, anyone who’s ever tried to write anything, knows what I just said is …eh, well, not exactly right.

In fact, it’s mostly wrong.

Because you can plan your short story, you can plan your chapter, and then …well, then the characters come to play. And, as absurd as it sounds to people who have never tried it, they sometimes have a mind of their own.

“They’re not real, so they can’t really have an opinion on things.” My sister tells me. I beg to differ. They are very much real. I might have created them, but they exist. They want things. They have opinions about how/where to get those things. More often than not, those opinions differ greatly from my own.

They might exist only in my head, but they can do plenty of damage there.

Of course, I understand that they don’t really exist. They’re part of my imagination, and every time I feel like deviating from the plan, every time it feels like they’re complaining about the direction I’m taking them in, every time it almost feels like they’re pushing for things to change, well, it’s really my subconscious doing that. Deep down, when they push and complain and refuse to just do as I told them, it’s probably because there is another way. A better way.

It’s all part of the mysterious and often mystifying process of writing.

My friend Carina always gets in trouble with her characters, and I keep telling her, you’re in charge. It’s your story. Except, of course, it’s not. It’s their story. (I admit it). But, within their story, you are God. So, you might not be in charge now (you might never be in charge), but, I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you listen to your characters/subconscious, and keep on writing.

Because, even if they think they are in charge every now and then, they don’t exist without you. You are the reason their story is being told. So, yeah, even if your characters are so well crafted that they fancy themselves real people, just remember…they still need YOU.

2 comentarios:

  1. I've learned to let them do what they want when I'm drafting, because I can always kick their asses as necessary in revisions. Then I really am God. Or maybe God is my editor. Yeah, that's probably right.

  2. But it's the kicking their asses thing that's a problem! Not to mention that drafting, for me, consists a two line blurb on what's supposed to happen in this chapter. :p


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