Apologies that this is so late, and apologies that I have been so absent this past week. My straight job has been consuming more of my time and energy (mostly the latter) than usual, and it has meant that I've had almost no time to keep up this week with my writing. But I could net let down the legions of loyal fans that have already come to look anxiously forward to Tactless Tuesdays. I hope the delay in my posting has not caused any medical of psychological conditions.
p.s. If it has, check out Solitude. It's the cure for anyone's blues. LOL
So, Lie #2 that we tell ourselves as writers is an extension of last week's Lie #1, but it works itself out differently. The lie is this: our characters have lives of their own. Here are the forms this lie can take:
* I am so mad at my character for doing this.
* I didn't expect my main character to do that and now I don't know what to do.
* My main character is not cooperating.
* Would my main character do this_or_that?
* How far would my character go?
* I don't know my character's background.
* I need to interview my character.
And so on and so forth. Here's the thing. Just like you're writing your story, and you're the boss of it, you're the creator of your character. If you don't want them to do something, it is entirely in your power to stop them. If you don't know what to do now that they've done something, change what they did. Would they do something? You tell me -- you're the author.
I understand that sometimes our psychology as a writer works in a way that these characters can feel like independent actors. That's fine. I understand being confused, surprised, or upset. You're really surprised at what you wrote, but it fees like it's the character who did you in. I also understand using interviews and backstory role plays and all that as ways to help you develop the character.
I get that.
But here's the problem when you feel like your character has its own life:
They take control of your story. I have too many writing friends who get stalled out because of their character. Their characters ruined their story. Their characters are too confusing. Authors control all that. Like it or not, every character you write about is up to you.
I was trapped in a story forever because of something like that once. I didn't like a character, I didn't understand that character. It took me ten years to finally realize, "Oh, crap, that's right, I can make that character whatever the heck I want to." Woohoo!
That's what's great about being a writer. You can change all the people who are annoying you!
So stop being a prisoner to the people in your imagination!