The relationship between an author and their characters can be surprisingly complicated. It isn't just a matter of making up a name, age, and gender, plugging in a few personality traits, and then making them do what you want. No, when you've done it right, the character actually takes on a life of his/her own.
Usually this is a good thing, but not always.
So I'm working on the draft of book 2 of the Daughter of the Wildings series. Silas Vendine is one of my favorite characters ever, but, well, things have not been all bunnies and rainbows.
Sometimes a character is smarter than you. This happened the other day. Silas is supposed to consider some facts, come to a conclusion, and then embark on a course of action. Seems easy, right? Well, he got through the considering all the facts part, then came to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONCLUSION from the one in the story outline! And to make things even worse, it was a much more logical conclusion than the one I wanted him to come to!
In short, my character had seen something that I had completely missed. Panic ensued - was I going to have to trash my whole outline and start over again? I calmed myself down and worked it through, and happily realized that things can still proceed as planned, just from a different (and much more interesting) angle. So, ok. Good boy, Silas.
Then yesterday, Silas is on the trail of a bad guy, and can't find a sign of him anywhere. I'm going, "What do you MEAN you can't find anything? YOU'RE the big-time bounty hunter!" and Silas is going, "Um, nope nope, can't do that, nope." (Imagine Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome Bounty Hunter saying this in the best Goofy voice you can think of. That's what it was like.) So I slogged through my 2000-word quota for the day, desperately trying to think of good reasons why Mr. Big-Time Bounty Hunter is clueless (remember, he's not just an awesome bounty hunter, he's a MAGICAL awesome bounty hunter), then when I finally finish for the day he goes, "Ha ha, just joking, I picked up on something way back there, let's go back three days and start all over again."
I don't like to kill off major characters, but sometimes it's tempting.
The writing session today started with evaluating how much of yesterday's hard-won word count can be salvaged after this revelation from Silas that he actually knew what he was doing all along, and fortunately the damage isn't too bad. Just a matter of deleting or re-writing a few paragraphs, and it's fixed and we can move on.
So, Silas, buddy, you get a reprieve this time. But watch youself after this. *evil grin*
In other news, A Cure for Nel, and Other Stories, is now available for Kindle on Amazon. The regular price is only $0.99!
Finally, I'll leave you with my Daughter of the Wildings mood music:
Danger Days, by My Chemical Romance, with just a dash of Green Day, Dire Straits, Social Distortion, and Muse.
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