Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Writing Down the Bones: When the Characters Take Over

I love it when my characters take over. I feel it makes the story more three dimensional because I'm in their head and see their world the way they do, but sometimes those characters take off on you, sending your story in a direction  you hadn't planned. Sometimes that is a good thing and you end up with some wonderful twists. Other times they go way off course and you have to reign them back in.

So how do you fix it?

I know this is going to sound crazy but I sit my wayward characters down and have a 'talk' with them. In my first book A Portrait in Time - which is a time travel romance - the heroine's ancestors were part of the story and they tried hard to take over the book. Once I promised them their own book they calmed down and allowed me to finish the book the way I wanted.

In my new series - The Vespian Way - SF/Futuristic Erotic romance - Heather and Storm keep taking over. When I 'talked' to them about it they reminded me that the series is their story and I realized they were right so I had to learn how to balance their ongoing story with the newer characters I was introducing. It's been interesting and fun.

Sometimes you can 'talk' to them. They are your creation you do have final control and the characters only want to be sure their story will be told. If you hadn't thought about a second or a third book and you create really strong characters as secondary characters you might find they will try to take over, but you can ease the problem by plotting out the next book while you're working on your current WIP.

My characters are very real to me. When they push me I listen to see what they want. It might be a little crazy but it works for me and I've gotten some wonderful stories out of it.


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