Thursday, March 3, 2011

Conversations with a character

I have been pussyfooting around the closing scenes of my WIP for months - ever since last August in fact, when I decided to do a major re-write on the advice of an agent who was kind enough to show interest in the ms.

But I have this character who won't do as she's told. Ok, so she's a teenager, and who knows an obedient teenager? Her price is well above that of rubies...

Anyhow, while I'm planning the ending, this imaginary friend of mine, who happens to be a teenage character in my WIP, rocks up and says, "I have a great idea. I'm going to get up on the walk of the castle's outer curtain wall and shoot the baddy with my bow and arrow."

"No, you're not," sez I.

"Why not? I can do it. You've seen me with a bow. I'm pretty darned good. aren't I?"

"Yes, you're very good. But you're pregnant. Carrying the heir to the throne and all that. Last of his line. Stuff like that."

"What about the girl? I'm having twins, don't forget."

"All the more reason for you *not* to go clambering about in secret passages and on castle walkways with a bow and arrows. No pregnant woman in her right mind would do that. Especially not when she's carrying the heir to the throne, last of his--"

"--line and all that. I know these things. Stop bugging me already! I want to kill the baddy from the wall walk. With an arrow."

This conversation kept coming up every few weeks. Meantime, we had a stalemate. I wasn't getting the book finished and my character was getting more and more pregnant.

Finally, this morning, I gave in. "Ok. We'll try it your way. Show me what you want to do and if it works we'll leave it in."

(Insert Squees of delight from teenage character while I sit down to pen the scene.)

I started to type and found I couldn't keep up. What hope has a 68-tomorrow-year old woman got of keeping up with a seventeen year old bent on hell-raising? The scene poured out, and as far as I can see, it works.

It pays to listen to your characters.

(Pic courtesy Wikimedia Commons)


  1. He, he, loved this post. Yes it is good to talk to your characters and let them loose once in a while. You never know how they may surprise you. As for doing crazy things whilst pregnant, I wanted to run a marathon. And before that I'd never even jogged. Go figure.

  2. Crikey - and you didn't even have an author to restrain you! I hope someone did:-).