Unruly Characters

My heroine isn’t cooperating. I pictured her a bit timid at the beginning of the story only to rediscover her feisty side as she progresses through the book, but yesterday she told me something different. “No way am I going to be timid. Not anymore.” Right now she’s irreverent, spontaneous, funny. Nothing at all like I’d planned.

My hero, who I’ve struggled with from the beginning, is showing me a tender side that I hadn’t expected to see until later in the story.

Before I started writing fiction I assumed writers came up with their characters then shaped and molded them to fit the story. Not so much. I’ve been writing for almost a dozen years and my characters still amaze me. Instead of shaping and molding them, they demand that the story line is shaped and molded around them.

Yes, they talk to me. And, yes, I’ve learned to listen to them. More often than not they’re right and I’m wrong.

Does it sound like I’m delusional? Sometimes I think so too.

This writing thing, it’s weird. People talk to you, talk to each other, argue with you, argue with each other. All before one word is written.

To struggle with them, to try to wrestle them into doing something that goes against their personality, is like trying to tell my new dog not to dig holes in the yard.

Even though it’s frustrating, even though I want to pull my hair out and scream, this is exactly what I love about writing–discovering new people and how they interact with the world around them.

So what do you do when your characters won’t cooperate?