Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Can't Read My Character's Minds

So.  Here we are.  9 days before the beginning of NaNoWriMo, and I'm steadily working on the plot for the final novel I'm planning out.  And this is where I hit a snag in my plans.  See, I figure I might just have enough time to finish all my plots, do some edits on a previous novel and the last critique I need to do before we break for the already busy November.  Apparently my characters had other ideas.

I was at the end of the brainstorming phase and just about to launch into character bibles (which is, let's face it, my least favorite part of plotting) when one of my characters finally decided to speak up.  You see, I thought I knew what her part in the novel was.  Where she was going, who she was going to be with.  Simple and easy.

Really, I blame myself.  I should have known that something was up.  My characters are never simple and easy.

Not only is she no longer doing anything that I originally thought she was doing, now she's also going to be with new characters.  Characters I hadn't planned on introducing in this novel (if ever).  Characters that are part of a new race that, while they're in this novel, I hadn't thought I needed to really dive into until later in the series when they become much more a part of the plot.

So now, instead of being nearly done (which I really was happy about.  I mean, 9 days!) I've got to figure out an entire race of people, including what they look like and their history, and will most likely be adding 2-5 more character bibles to the list I already have.  A list that I already thought was pretty long.

And that character?  The one that so kindly dumped all of this work into my lap at the last minute?  She's blinking at me innocently as if I should have known what she was planning this entire time.  As if I could read her mind.

As the person who created this particular character, I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised that she thinks this.  After all, if I created her, why don't I know every step she's taking?  While I will, eventually, be writing out every word she says and every move she makes, her thoughts aren't necessarily open to me.

Characters, you see, take on a life of their own.  Each one of them thinks that they could write your book better than you.  And they're more than willing to go behind your back and do whatever they want.  It doesn't matter to them that they just messed up your entire plot, or that they weren't supposed to do that until book 5.  They simply don't care.

I'm not going to let this get to me, however.  I know what I have to do to get to the bottom of this before Nano begins.  (Aside from giving up on the idea of getting sleep...) I'm going to teach them that I'm the one in charge!  That I'm the writer and I  made them, and I can kill them off if I want to.  Then, when their laughter subsides, I'm going to give into what they want and do the extra work they want because, as any writer will tell you, the characters are the ones running the show.

I think I need to learn how to read their minds...

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