Monday, May 05, 2008

Dictating Characters

One of the best things you can do as a writer is to listen to your characters. [Not to worry - no spoilers here.] I'm working on a particular part of Madman's Dance that seemed to work okay. Jacynda, the heroine, kept muttering "Too easy." I ignored her. Then she got the other Time Rover (Johns Hopkins) saying the same thing. Then he asked, "So why aren't the bad guys stopping us, huh? This is too easy." Sigh...

So today I caved in and rewrote that scene to make it less easy for both of them. They're happy now (for the moment) and the story is better for it. I know there are authors who say they'd never let their characters dictate to them like that. I will if they're persistent. They know their story. I'm just their scribe (another point of contention with some authors). Jacynda's been right all along. Why muss with that success?

Tomorrow I'm back to the editing now that this scene is in place. I'm about 100 pages from the end and then the second half goes to the editor. We still have lots of clean up, but things are sorting themselves out. I always love how that happens right at the very end (NOT!) I think the characters do that on purpose -- make the author sweat. It always works.

1 comment:

steve said...

Jana, my charcters sometimes lead me astray. But in my Dickens Challenge novel, they've been helpful. An Episcopal priest gave my charcters his card before I knew he was going to perform an exorcism on Helena. The mage who sent Timothy's soul back in time gave me his backstory. And Helena's parents started telling me their story after she mentioned she was born less than nine months after her parents married. But that's another book.