Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Runaway Characters

I'm currently having a lot of fun writing my YA steampunk. Exploring a new genre is even more fun than I expected.

My characters, however, are acting like such teenagers. Well, they are teenagers, so I guess that's okay. Isn't it?

My two main characters enjoy making their own decisions. They're a little spunkier in that regard than I expected. The male is full of bravado, and keeps trying to hide his vulnerable side. The female is nervous about trusting anyone, but also finds herself pushing the boundaries of what she expects herself to do.

The dialogue between them is lively. And full of innuendo. I didn't really expect them to want a relationship. At least not with the circumstances of the plot. Certainly not until much farther into the book. But... well, you know teenagers.

Right now, I'm sitting back and cruising along with them. We'll have to see where they want to go. Hope I don't have to act too much like a parent!

How often do your characters run away on you? Do they take you to places you never expected to visit?

(NaNo update: over 7000 words now. I've been sick, so not really sure how great those words are, but, hey - it's a first draft!)

(Thanks to TK Richardson at My Writing Masquerade TK has generously awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award. As I've already passed along the award, I won't go through the process again, but I wanted to thank TK. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, pop over and check her blog out! It's well worth the trip :))


  1. Oh gosh, this is so true for me. I was just thinking how ornary they can be. They never seem to do what I set out for them to do.

    Great post!

  2. I wish I had this trouble with my characters! I'm so controlling... maybe I need to loosen the reins and let them play a little... hmmm

  3. Most definitely. One of my point of view characters helped me develop one of the major plot threads for my current WIP, dramatically changing the topography of the novel in the process. And all for the better!

  4. Carolina - they sure can get rowdy, can't they. I loved your post too. Very similar thought process going on!

  5. Sara - let those reins go! It's a lot of fun - although you may not end up anywhere you expected. I'm really not sure where I'm headed now!

  6. J - awesome! It's probably our sub-conscious brain pointing us in a direction we really want to go, but I like to think of the characters taking those reins :)

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  8. My characters are heping to fill out the huge holes in the planning.
    My first chapter seems to be 7,565 words long and still not finished. I think I need to revise where the breaks should be.
    I was writing away this evening and decided, out of the blue, that my bodyguard should be a member of one of Californian native tribes - Paiute.
    I was so impressed with my detour that I went back to my planning book to make the necessary notes. But there, in small print, at the bottom of a page it says Nerysa - native indian?
    This must be sleep deprivation - I have no memory of making that decision.
    Is the strain getting to you yet?

  9. Elaine - sleep writing perhaps???

    I tend to write from 2 the pov of both main characters, so my chapters tend to be fairly short. I like to keep switching back and forth between them.

    I've been kind of sick for the past couple of days, so I'm really not sure how great the writing's been, but it's moving along pretty well. At the moment. Not suffering from over-confidene though :)

  10. Good post Jemi. I too have characters in which have run away on me. Sometimes I don't know what they're going to say next. Quite strange. Then again, I'm probably slightly deranged and that's rubbed off on them all :)

  11. Quill - Must be going around :)

    I think mine, like me, are a bit nutty too - nothing wrong with that. At least, that's what I keep telling my family!

  12. Mine have a mind of their own all the time. The problem is they don't like conflict!!!!!! Hello, guys, that's now how it's supposed to work in novel land.

  13. Eileen - I love it :) Characters who run away from the conflict. Could that be a conflict in itself???

    Good luck with those renegades! Thanks for dropping by!

  14. PS. Just popped a little something on my blog for you. Check it out :)

  15. This is exactly what's going on with me! What perfect timing to read this. But I think I'm going to put my foot down with my characters. There's enough going on without letting The Urges take over.

    Lovely blog! :)

  16. Jemi, I love when my characters run in a direction I wasn't expected. Even better, when they blurt out something or have a totally profound thought that really floors me because it tells me so much about the character.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  17. It's almost like the characters have a mind of their own sometimes. Naughty, naughty characters! But, then again, isn't that always the way teenagers are?

  18. Congratulations on your word count! That's amazing productivity.

    Yes, my characters like to run away with scenes. Very annoying sometimes ..especially when I'm doing edits and have to cut out half of their antics later!

    Hope you feel better soon!
    Mystery Writing is Murder

  19. Quill - Thanks, you are so sweet :)

    Jenni - Yes, sometimes we do have to be the parent, don't we! I'm going to throw something nasty at them to slow them down a bit - should be fun! Thanks for dropping by.

    Cindy - you're so right! They sometimes say just the right thing. I love it when that happens.

    Debra - yes, yes, yes! Mine are most definitely teenagers :)

    Elizabeth B - Me too. MC's without any spunk are just a little too boring.

    Elizabeth SC - Thanks for the well wishes :) It will sure be interesting to see just how much I'll have to edit out later. Gotta love those first drafts!

    Thanks for the best wishes everyone. Sleep is an amazing thing. I'm feeling a lot better than I was! Crossing my fingers it keeps heading in the right direction.

  20. In one of the first drafts I wrote this year, my main character ditched the love interest I'd carefully chosen for him and went after the hot, edgy bad (and I mean bad) girl. I kept saying (out loud, which might mean I'm crazy), "You have got to be kidding."

    He wasn't, and I went with what he wanted and loved the result and all that it meant for the story. This is what makes writing so fun.

  21. Characters, gotta love 'em. They're called characters because they can be real, well, characters. Happily typing along and suddenly type "jealous." Oh, really, since when have you been jealous? Didn't see that. Thanks for letting me know.
    And my MC hasn't yet let me know who she wants to end up with.

  22. Jemi, I can't keep my characters in line either. The boy I thought would be the boyfriend ended up being a little booger. A peacock actually and I hate him. Hopefully MC will too!

    Her parents are alcoholic gamblers and a mysterious one legged man entered my novel on a NaNo dare, but somewhere seems to want to stay. He's full of life and joy and all sorts of goodness. Crazy how that stuff works.

    I hope you fell better soon.

  23. I just had it happen to me. I was writing my Chapter and expecting it to go the way the outline said, when it took a turn. I tried to steer it back, but ended up not writing, so I let it go and came out with something better.

  24. It IS weird when they don't "obey" - but I think that's the mark of a really good story.

  25. Julie - now THAT's a good example of a character taking over!! I'm glad it all worked out for the story - it's funny how it works, isn't it?

    Aline - I hope your mc lets you in on the secret pretty soon! Although it may be more fun if you're not in the loop :)

    Cat - your poor mc is being dragged through the mill and back again! Maybe the 1-legged man is one of her personalities - just an illusion of her inner being! I hope she doesn't end up with the peacock. She deserves better :)

    Carolyn - Awesome! Maybe that's the reason I don't outline :) It's so interesting how a story just refuses to go along with the writer.

    Anne - I hope so! Mine are really unruly at times :)

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting :)

  26. A resounding yes! The MS I just completed was supposed to be 1st person POV, one protagonist. It turned out to be 1st and 3rd POVs - two protagonists. It wasn't my idea either, the characters and story demanded it. I was also completely surprised by the ending.

    I have to agree with Julie, this is what makes writing so fun.

    Feel better soon, Jemi!

  27. VR - What an awesome example! I haven't tried a story with 1st and 3rd - but I've read a few that have been a lot of fun (Alex Cross stories come to mind).

    I'm totally in agreement - it is certainly one of the things that make writing fun!

  28. I love it when characters act the way you want them to - but not the way you planned. In your case, it means that they really are teenagers and not characters of approximately fourteen who like ice cream and have green eyes, ya know?
    I'm the Ron Empress that the Mistress of Masquerades just awarded with you. Nice to meet 'cha! ;D

  29. Victoria - that's a great distinction :) You're so right!

    Very nice to meet you too :)

  30. Good job on the word count! Yehaw! I love that your characters have that depth already, that's sure to make for a great story. And yes, I have had a few runaway characters in my time. Some have had to had a time out and a talking to.

  31. Jean - Thanks! I'm happy with my NaNo count so far :)

    I'm pleased with my "kids" too - even if they are doing their own thing!

  32. Well done on your word count. I'm a little behind but hoping to catch up this weekend :)

    Yes IO've had characters do surprising things, the end of my last novel took me completely by surprise but I like that

  33. Alexa - I love that your whole ending changed! For some bizarre reason, the endings are usually the first scenes I see when I'm planning a new novel. Haven't had that change yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens.

    Good luck on your weekend catch-up :)