Writing Tips

Letting Go of Characters

CharactersThere is a moment on the page when a scene runs along and without warning it will lead somewhere else. When I go back to find the culprit it is hidden in an event that required a split second decision, and that decision was not mine to make. Then I am faced with a dilemma, do I alter the scene or trust the character to make the choice? It is hard to let go especially when a well thought out plan has been undone. There have been a few choices that caught me by surprise while writing characters. The first inexplicably changed the beginning of my fantasy series. You see, I lost my first protagonist. Instead of trying to fix it I dived straight into the mayhem, as though the event could not be altered.

Creating the Moment

There have been some unusual twists resulting from character decisions. After writing several major conflict scenes I have come to the conclusion that it is not possible to know who lives until afterward. I have lost characters that were supposed to live, and others have survived much to my astonishment. These moments have created little gems and brought out who these characters are. Sometimes I find myself clinging on and thinking ‘no’. Then the character does something that has consequences and leads on to so much more.

Bringing Life to the Page

I could not imagine my characters any other way it has been fun giving them room to grow, even if it turns out to be a mistake. Life is full of choices and the chaos that goes with it. There is something special about letting go, where the characters find their own way after the scene is set. A few wrong decisions have led the story down a different path, it may not be the intended one but it has been far more intriguing. So just when you think everything is perfect, give your characters a choice. Don’t be afraid to let go when writing, and find out where it leads.