MusingsWork In ProgressWriting

Help! My Character Has Taken Me Hostage!

I was in control.  I swear I was.

It didn’t matter that the opening scene that came to me was in first person.  I’m the author, right?  If I wanted to work my way around that, it was my right, my prerogative.  I had it all worked out.  The journal entries would be in first and the rest would be in close third, alternating POVs from the heroine and hero’s perspectives.

Then I sat down to work on that opening scene.  The first half went well enough, then I started to struggle.  For two days I wrestled with the same paragraph.  Elodie just clammed up.  Wouldn’t say a word.

I’m supposed to be in first person.  You’re supposed to let me talk.  I told you this when I first started keeping you up at night, so I don’t know why you’re being so stubborn.

Because I am the author, damn you! This is my call!

And she just sat there, looking at me with that insolent expression that only teenagers can manage.

So I gave in.  I admit it.  Despite all my training in psychology and my knowledge that you have to be firm as a parent and all that stuff, I gave in to this girl and let her have the scene in first.  And spewed out 900 words in an hour.

I told her not to let it go to her head.

Seriously though, this drives me nuts.  I don’t like first person.  I haven’t written anything in first person in about eight years.  And even then it was just a once in a while occurrence.  But the book demands what it demands.

What do you do when your characters organize a mutiny?

13 thoughts on “Help! My Character Has Taken Me Hostage!

  1. LOL this happened to me a few weeks ago, several of my characters took me hostage and made me rewrite several chapters! When this happens, I open a nice bottle of wine and go with it 😉

  2. I fight it, and then fight it, and ultimately give in and then bitch about it to my husband until he’s sick of hearing about it.

    But, you know, the damned characters have always been right so far. Curse them.

  3. Only writers can understand that characters can take over. Readers just look at you like you’re crazy. When this happens to me (all the time!) I just let them have their way. They are going to do what they want anyway. And sometimes they do things that I had no idea they were going to do. That’s what makes it fun!

  4. “What do you do when your characters organize a mutiny?”

    Pray you have enough hair on your back to rope yourself a couple of sea-turtles and make a raft. XD

    I tend to dream in third person POV as well, which I know sounds odd… but I had a really amazing dream one night that was in first person and demanded to be written with a handful of characters S.L. and I haven’t officially put to paper yet. I’m a pretty slow writer, but when I was through writing down the scene it was… much larger than even the dream had been originally. It was around 11 pages long in Word. Perhaps one of these days, we’ll use the concept, but even if we don’t, it made us rethink the POV for the entire series we want to do with those characters. Definitely not what we had in mind! XD

    ~Kris

  5. ……Brownies come to mind. Maybe some of those little round chocolates wrapped in gold foil that explode in your mouth once you bite into them…And then I stop arguing and do what they tell me to do. Usually they’re right…which is a real pisser considering they’re not even real, yanno?!

  6. I’ve written two novels and a novellete in first person–and I used to never like first person. I used to put books down that were written in first person, wouldn’t read them (Diana Gabaldon changed all that for me LOL). But you’re right–sometimes the story demands it. Roll with it–as a parent & foster parent, I know for a fact you only have so much control over a child: only as much as they give you. 🙂

  7. Its wonderful when that happens because it means your characters are really ‘coming to life’, but I understand how frustrating it can be. Have fun with it and you might learn even more about your character 🙂

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