After writing the equivalent of thirteen paperback pages for the (unfinished) epic-epilogue (of Dancing the Maypole) I decided to go back and read the last chapter over again. I’m really happy with it! Then I read the epic-epilogue (which threatened to go on on forever), and I had an awful sinking feeling. I knew the epic-logue was all wrong.
I gave in and mentally deleted what I’d long assumed would be the epilogue (I knew the story wanted one, I just wasn’t listening…again…) and after going to bed I tried to figure out what the story wanted (I love my job – I can work in a horizontal position with my eyes closed). This morning I started over and I’m so glad I did. I no longer feel like I’m stuck in a romance writing version of Tron where I have to write my way out of the game… One short epilogue and I’ll be ready to start final editing.
I wonder if my characters ever feel that way, as if they want me to go a certain way in the story. I remember one character seeming to tell me to write her story I showed her who was boss when I bound her and tagged her and put her in a closet.
I know how you feel! I have a number of loudmouthed characters locked in a large room at the back of my mind. I assume they’re playing cards or having a monumental pity party, but I know it’s only time before they escape and stage a coup.
Each writer has their own way of interacting with/weaving their stories. Call me mad, but I believe most stories know how they begin unwind and end. It’s just so easy to interfere and trying to force the story to do what I think it should do. I find in my own writing that when I force the characters the story and characters start to go wooden (as if I’ve cast an evil spell on them). The flow disappears and I’m left fuming until I slow to a standstill. Hate that!
Never underestimate your characters! They may live in your head, but they live their own lives. Give them a page and they’ll demand a book! :/
My characters show me a scene to tease me then hide. It like I peek into their lives yet do not have the full story. The one I have had in my mind the longest without having her tell her story is constantly wanting me to get to the resolution so that she would not remain in the cage.
Characters can be SO demanding (and irrational). Usually I’ll have an idea for a story and I’ll sit down, zone out and just see what flows onto the screen (usually without knowing even the characters names or what they look like), but occasionally the story flashes a random scene at me (as if I’m a mind reader) and then I have to somehow figure out who they are and where the story starts. You’re not alone!
Some stories seem to need an incubation period. The Invisible Husband was like that. I wrote the first page or two and then silence so I shelved it. Three or so years later the characters suddenly decided they were ready to talk so I had to snap to and get typing. Characters have no sympathy for their writers! “What? You have the flu? Write faster in case you die!”
Bless! I hope your characters are persuaded to cooperate today! 🙂