Writing fiction is hard. I can’t make my characters do what I want. They keep coming up with their own ideas and messing up my plot, and I’m getting pretty tired of it. I’m having to re-write a whole bunch of scenes because they didn’t like what I told them to do.
If anyone else told me that, I’d think they were nuts. How can characters talk? How can they do anything at all when they aren’t real? I know that, yet I still get mad at the way they behave. It’s like I’ve gotten to know them well enough that I know what they would do in a situation, but it isn’t what I want them to do. I gave them certain personalities when we started this story, and don’t you know they went and changed!
They can’t be allowed to do things that don’t fit their personalities, or the story won’t be believable. Yet, the changes were necessary to develop the plot. So now the plot doesn’t fit the characters anymore.
This is frustrating. I did not want to write a romance. This is supposed to be a suspense novel. Somebody needs to be punished for this and I think it’s going to be the main character. She has it way too easy, and the guys just love her. It’s not that I’m jealous or anything. Lorraine is though, and I’m going to whisper something into her ear that will really make her hate Danni.
Oh, sorry. Here I am rambling about my characters when you haven’t met them and probably don’t care about them. But you’re supposed to care about the characters in a novel. If readers don’t care, they stop reading. And giving them problems and making them dislike each other, or love each other, or fight each other, builds tension and conflict.
No one wants to read about perfect people, unless it’s to see them get tormented and brought down a peg. Peg! That’s another character in my story. It’s a conspiracy. They want to take over my mind and keep me typing this story forever. They want to live forever and ever, and all I want them to do is go:
To sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)
Do your characters take on a distinct personality? Do they change as the story progresses, or are they the same at the end as they were in the beginning? Do you enjoy stories where the characters are perfect, or do you prefer flawed characters? Aren’t you glad we don’t talk like they did in Shakespeare’s time?