Statements appearing in these forums represent the opinions of the authors
of each post, not the opinion of WritersWeekly.com and/or BookLocker.com.
It is currently July 28th, 2014, 10:21 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: February 16th, 2004, 11:43 am 
Offline

Joined: July 24th, 2003, 8:45 am
Posts: 5
Location: Quebec
Dear fellow writers,
I am collecting reports from writers whose fictional characters influence, or at times seem to be dictating the direction the story is going. For example: You make character X the protagonest, and character Y, who is peripheral, demands equal if not greater representation. Or you feel unduly pressured by a particular character to change something. I've heard this many times ("My character wouldn't let me write that about him"; or "She (the character) haunted me until I changed the ending"), and wondered if this was common among writers, or if only SOME writers experience this. Has this ever happened to you? Thank you in advance!! Contact me at Annie_Wynham@yahoo.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: February 16th, 2004, 11:46 am 
Offline

Joined: July 24th, 2003, 8:45 am
Posts: 5
Location: Quebec
This is an error in the contact email address in my post above.
It should be Annie_Wyndham@yahoo.com
(the "d" is missing in the email address above).

Annie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: characters
PostPosted: July 13th, 2004, 7:57 am 
Offline

Joined: July 12th, 2004, 9:56 am
Posts: 4
Dear Anne:

I have certainly had characters get in my brain and take over when I was in a zone and do and say things that I had never planned. Sometimes this would alter the course of the plot. I actually love this when it happens.
After one of these sessions I frequently will review what I have written and wonder who wrote it.

Best regards,

Marty RicKard

mrickard@iowatelecom.net


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 13th, 2004, 11:15 am 
Offline

Joined: July 11th, 2004, 3:54 pm
Posts: 14
Not only have I had characters who directed the plot, I've found myself behaving like them.

_________________
When I hear somebody sigh, 'Life is hard,' I am always tempted to ask, 'Compared to what?'. --Sydney Harris


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: July 14th, 2004, 3:20 pm 
Offline

Joined: July 14th, 2004, 3:15 pm
Posts: 25
Location: MN
Yep, my characters put words in their own mouths, thank you very much. This has often written me into a corner, when a character says something I didn't expect and changes everything for the story. And then it's almost as if they sit there laughing as I try to figure out how to solve the puzzle they've just given me.

I'm exaggerating a little, of course, but I've definitely had something unexpected pop up on the page without my having consciously considered it. I guess it's a matter of the subconscious working faster than the conscious.

Andrea Z

_________________
"All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery." --George Orwell


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Yep, thats fuh shua...
PostPosted: July 15th, 2004, 9:17 am 
Offline

Joined: November 12th, 2003, 8:45 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Massachusetts
Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!

I've also had characters stop telling me what to write in the middle of a story because they didn't like the way something happened, and usually they won't talk to me until I change it.

I prefer when they dictate though. Usually when they tell me what to write, the story turns out better.

-M

_________________
-Matthew Dumas
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin, [u] Historical Review of Pennsylvania [\u], 1759.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: July 15th, 2004, 11:23 am 
Offline

Joined: July 4th, 2004, 8:24 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Rochester, NY
Dear Annie,

This never happened to me when I wrote short stories. But when I wrote my novel,
THE RED SEA PLACE, it was a different story. (Pardon the pun!) I thought I was going to write about the trials and tribulations of a young woman (an adoptee) who searches for (and finds) her birth mother. Instead, that idea became a subplot; the primary focus of the novel switched, almost without my realizing it, to the trials and tribulations of the birth mother who was married to a "control freak" and had two other children.


After I got over my surprise I realized I had produced a much better novel than I would have if I had followed "the plan." I also learned that a subplot is important to keep the novel interesting. Otherwise, you just keep hammering on the main theme. In the space of 90,000 words that can get pretty boring.

I think that, because of the space constraints of a short story, you really have to stick to one theme. With a novel, you have a lot more flexibility.

Thanks for asking. It's an interesting topic.

Sincerely,

_________________
Shirley Schooler
Author, THE RED SEA PLACE
www.redseaplace.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: July 28th, 2004, 4:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: July 28th, 2004, 4:51 pm
Posts: 1
My characters seem to tell me their story, but then they stop for a while, and I stop writing it. Then suddenly they yell at me again, and we're off to the races. LOL I've been writing this book for a long, long, long time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 8th, 2004, 1:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: July 24th, 2003, 8:45 am
Posts: 5
Location: Quebec
Though I originally posted this inquiry over a year ago--about characters dictating the outcome of the story/novel--I appreciate the replies on this forum (as well as those of you who have emailed me privately). You have, individually and collectively, provided me with incredibly interesting material (and in some cases, unexpectedly thought-provoking new insights), and I can't thank you all enough!

Annie Wyndham


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: August 12th, 2004, 2:16 am 
Offline

Joined: August 12th, 2004, 1:44 am
Posts: 1
Though this may be an old inquiry, one of my characters insisted that I post a reply!

I too have experienced this phenomenon. After I had pretty much written my first novel, "With a Jester of Kindness" I began work on the sequal, "Spellbinder". Immediately, the villain, who had survived from the first novel began to behave and think in ways I hadn't expected. In fact, he fell in love--perhaps his one positive facet. At first, I was a little afraid of what he was becoming...until I realized that he was becoming more human--more reachable. I didn't want him becoming likeable, but this did make him more interesting and for him his love becomes a liability--a weakness. Soon his Achele's heel was propelling him through a number of developements. It even made me rethink a couple items in the first book and do some minor rewriting.

It just occured to me that my protagonist also did something in the first book which I hadn't counted on, his actions led to a different ending for him and the book, and further opened the way for the sequal. Boy sometimes it's like a time-warp or something.

I could go on forever, BUT I WON'T. I just wanted to say that while my characters sometimes say and do things I don't expect them to, they usually don't dictate the direction of the story as much as how long it takes me to get it there. Do I take the long way home, or the short cut? Ultimately it's still up to you as the author to rein in your characters and keep them and the story from running away, but I believe you should give them a little rein first, just to see where they want to take you. If your writing is honest and your mind open to the real character of your characters they also will want to get to the same ending you want. As I said, it's just a matter of how soon they want to get there.

Oh excuse me, but I have to go. My protagonist is yelling at me again.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 20th, 2004, 3:23 am 
Offline

Joined: August 20th, 2004, 3:01 am
Posts: 11
Location: Canada
It's a touchy subject, this. I've been told that 'real writers' can sit down and write anything. They don't listen to any 'voices' telling them what to write. They already know what's going to be put down on paper because they have an outline written before they even start to write.

*lol* What I think of that concept isn't printable. Sean Connery played a writer in some movie that I never did learn the title of. His character said something I've always instinctively done -- "Writers write from the heart. They edit with their heads."

I find that letting my subconscious, the characters, write the story means that the whole point of my message is revealed. I'll even do that when I'm writing non-fiction, letting my computer 'tell me' how to do web design or HTML, letting my fingers tell me how to write a story about knitting or crocheting.

If writing from the heart means that I have to listen to voices in my mind, then that's okay by me. So long as the tale gets properly told, I don't care who I have to listen to. ;)

Peg

_________________
Open mouth, insert foot; that's what good stories are made of.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: August 21st, 2004, 9:20 pm 
Offline

Joined: October 1st, 2003, 3:49 pm
Posts: 8
awyn wrote:
Dear fellow writers,
I am collecting reports from writers whose fictional characters influence, or at times seem to be dictating the direction the story is going. For example: You make character X the protagonest, and character Y, who is peripheral, demands equal if not greater representation. Or you feel unduly pressured by a particular character to change something. I've heard this many times ("My character wouldn't let me write that about him"; or "She (the character) haunted me until I changed the ending"), and wondered if this was common among writers, or if only SOME writers experience this. Has this ever happened to you? Thank you in advance!! Contact me at Annie_Wynham@yahoo.com


Yes, Annie. This has happened to me. In my recent novel, I found my protagonist taking back her estranged husband. I never planned this until the moment I typed it on my screen. I was surpirsed and delighted. It resolved many issues.
Best of luck.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 25th, 2004, 5:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: August 25th, 2004, 5:20 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Georgia
Dear Annie:

I know I’m late but … The characters in my novel not only influenced and dictated the direction the book took they tried to control my life as well. When I started writing it was a young boy’s narrative about daily stories made up for him by his mother. By the completion of the book it was only about a single tale (one the mother told to her son) and “he” had become the heroine, a woman in her early twenties. She would frequently wake me between 1:00 and 3:00 A.M. and send me to my computer to spend the rest of the night adding parts to the story that she had to share with me, right then! Her additions and changes caused me to have to back fill and update earlier completed sections. In December 2003 I finished the children’s chapter book and mailed it to my friend and former college professor. I was so excited and anxious to get the opinion of a successful published children’s author. It took a while but he read it, found it intriguing, packed it up and sent it to his friend, an editor at a New York publishing company. Being new at this I thought the major writing was over but was I ever wrong. The heroine persisted until she convinced me that she is 16! SO…it took four months of rewrites and 70 additional pages to get the book completed to her satisfaction. I must admit that every part of it came together and I like it better now too. Uh-oh. I haven’t heard from the editor yet and the version she has is a much different tale.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group