Writers take different approaches to their work. Some have every scene mapped out in advance, every character portrait painted, before the opening words find their way to the page. Others just . . . let it happen. It seems to me that both approaches have their benefits—and their downfalls. If all is planned in advance, will there be surprises sufficient to continue to engage the reader? On the other hand, if events are allowed to happen without any advance thought, will what ultimately transpires prove to be internally consistent? Then, of course, we writers tell our stories through our characters and as every writer knows, characters have minds of their own.
It is true. A writer may begin with the purest of intentions, but as things trip off from the ends of the writer’s fingers to the keyboard and onto the screen, things happen. Characters do and say things the author didn't anticipate.
These things may leave the writer shocked, laughing, or even mourning, as they can force the story to change directions. Add to that the fact that characters think their own thoughts, from the purest, to the most despicable. Thus, this writer often finds herself wondering: was that always inside of me? Was it just a matter of my not having entertained those thoughts in the past?
From whence do these unexpected turns and revelations come? Does a writer dream them first? Are they floating around in her subconscious mind until they simply burst out from the tips of her fingers? And, what is this writer to do with a wayward character who simply will not abide by the rules, who displays skills of which I previously had been unaware, who says the most outrageous things, or perhaps, who says nothing at all. . . ?
(Content first published elsewhere, September 20, 2013.)