Sunday, October 18, 2015

Is it possible for characters to become jealous of each other?

I’ve been busy working on final tasks involved with my short story so I can publish next month, but that doesn’t mean the characters from my other books are laying low. It’s almost as if they are jealous I’m spending so much time with another character from another book. It’s an odd notion, certainly, but lately I feel as if the characters are competing for my attention.

It’s not an issue working on more than one book at a time; there’s good and bad with that process, especially since I’ve gone from hardly writing to constantly thinking about writing. It can be a little overwhelming. But I love being back in the saddle because, while it’s hard to explain, it’s an incredible feeling being plagued with ideas, thoughts to add to story plots and even input from characters who want to have a say in their fictional lives.

There’s one particular character fighting for my attention the most lately, and I certainly can’t blame them because as the story stands, their demise is eminent in the next Jorja Matthews mystery. I guess if I knew my time was almost up, I would also do whatever it took to prolong the inevitable. I don’t know if they’re going to be able to talk me into changing the story line for their benefit; time will tell as I continue to write the story but I will never put it past the characters to change the story so that I’m surprised by the outcome. We’ll just see how things go.

It’s not like this hasn’t happened to me before…
  • In No Mother of Mine, my plan for the babies in the beginning was much different than what happened and added a character I hadn’t expected to become involved until the story was already in the works.
  • The identity of the killer in the first book also took a surprising turn for me half way through the book; honestly, I thought I knew who it was going to be but then as the story unfolded before me, the culprit was a surprise even to me. As it turned out, I liked the surprising identity of the killer much better because of the ties they had with the characters, as well as their back story, and I had a lot of fun with what it allowed me to add in the second and third books, and what I will be able to use in the prequel.
  • And then there was the question of Jorja’s parents…if you really knew who I thought they were, you’d be surprised and the series would have taken a much different route than where they’ve gone. But again, the story played out in a way even I didn’t expect and I believe the results are much better. I’ve really enjoyed the way the story line has moved on and based on feedback from readers, they feel the same as I do.
  • Even with the short story I will be publishing soon, the ending was a twist from what I had originally planned and believe it or not, I give the protagonist all the credit. This story is about a character and their emotional growth through trauma after a life-changing event, but for me it’s also a true testament to how much a fictional character can fight for what they want. I won’t offer any spoilers but I will say that this protagonist grew stronger than I anticipated and provided me with an ending I hadn’t even thought of until I was already deep into the story.     
Obviously, my story ideas are not set in stone and my characters oftentimes have a say in the way the plot moves along.  It’s just the way I create and I really can’t imagine creating any other way. I have continued to allow my characters to play a part in story development and so far, they really haven’t steered me wrong.

Now the trick is learning how to divide my attention between characters from different books when they are vying for my attention at the same time!

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