Authors, do your characters sometimes refuse to fall in line and tread the path you have so carefully plotted for them?
Mine do. Sigh.
I’m not a detailed plotter, nor these days a total pantser – and I’m making the assumption here that you understand these terms, and don’t think I’m making risqué underwear references.
When I wrote my first novel, or, in fact, my first three novels, I lived for the seat of the pants thrill of having no idea where my characters would take me. I created a world, an opening scene, some characters, and let them loose. What a buzz!
Only trouble now is, needing to write sequels that are the middle part of a trilogy, or an on-going piece of a longer series, I’m finding it necessary to have some sort of plot in mind before I start.
Blah. Takes loads of the fun out of the discovery process.
But, oh well, I have to knuckle down and do it, or potentially waste tons of time sorting out issues later that don’t fit in the overall story arc.
Okay, I thought. I will do the minimum. Start with the characters from the previous book – no problem. Give them a set goal to reach in this novel, and a vague route plan to get from Point A to Point B.
Easy. And not too restrictive. Still plenty of scope for the old imagination to dream up fantastical elements, if not the whole plot.
I just should have known better.
These characters had free rein last time – and they’re not willing to give it up yet! Will they behave themselves and go along the prescribed route?
Like hell, will they!
In the big plan, I guess they’re not doing so badly, but they keep deviating off down uncharted and unsanctioned side routes and, dammit, some of those are rather interesting!
I don’t want to slap these people back into line, as I hate to see characters in a book being forced to do things out of character for the sake of the plot. I just wish these side turnings weren’t so damned tempting!
THE PRINCE’S SON, sequel to THE PRINCE’S MAN, has now grown into 2 books; a novel and a novella (THE PRINCE’S NEPHEW), else it would be rivalling a G.R.R.Martin tome in length, and I don’t want to take two years or more on one book.
If only I could write faster – or those characters in my head would stay on track and not keep doing such damned interesting things off their own bats!
I know I’m not alone in this predicament so, writers, how do you handle your disobedient characters?