4/2/11 — Do Your Characters Ever Take Over the Writing?

Sometimes, if I am really in the zone writing, something will happen completely out of left field that I had no intention of putting in the piece. Do that ever happen to you?

For example, many years ago, writing “Grandmother Clause” (one of the short stories in RieVisions), the main character buys a potion that will give his Grandmother several more years of life in exchange for some of his own. She refuses it, and tells him to pour it out. As he goes to obey, he meets a little girl in the hallway who is suffering from a terminal illness and has come out of her room for a drink of water. And he gives her the glass with the potion mixed in it. I had no idea he was about to do that until he handed her the glass. It was an in-character thing to do, but it was not something I had planned for the story.

Another example is my upcoming book, The Luckless Prince. When I first started writing it, all those many moons ago, it was the story of Roland and what happened to him. But as the book came to life, the character of Stefan became more and more compelling, and he is now the main focus. In this case, it isn’t so much any one detail, but many little actions that were surprises.

What about you? Do you ever get unexpected dialog whispered in your ear? Do characters suddenly turn down a path you meant to pass by? Do you listen, or do you rein them in? What works best?



About RieSheridanRose

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2,  and Killing It Softly. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.
This entry was posted in The Writing Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 4/2/11 — Do Your Characters Ever Take Over the Writing?

  1. Ethan Nahte' says:

    All the time. Sometimes it’s for the good of the story. Other times I believe it’s just the many voices in my head screwing with me.


  2. Jim Reader says:

    nope, never happens – i write with such a rigidly defined outline that the characters bend to my will or i throw the story out entirely.

    :: truly, awe-inspiringly heavy sarcasm ::


  3. T. Conway says:

    I coulnd’t answer these questions as I find story writing to be quite tedious and not yet part of my writing abilities. Perhaps one day. I wanted to take this space to comment on the excerpt from your upcoming book “The Luckless Prince.” It is quite intriguing, colorful and captivating. I find that I also want to finish reading it, so I will be following your blog anxiously waiting to hear word on its release. As always, I wish you the best of luck Rie!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s