Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Characters Taking Over by Fay Cunningham

Why do they do it? Just when I think I’ve knocked them into submission, there they go again, trying to tell me how to write my story. It’s my story, and if I want Laura to have fair hair and blue eyes she has no right to argue with me, but I find a few pages on she’s turned into a brunette and changed the colour of her eyes.

Sometimes you just have to give in. Alex obviously hates his name – he doesn’t feel it’s manly enough for him – so he calls himself Lucas. Those names are nothing alike, are they? It’s certainly not a typing error. Would he like to change his height as well, I suggest? Perhaps six feet isn’t tall enough for him. But no, he seems happy now I’ve changed his name, so perhaps I can get on with the rest of the book.

They’ve taken over my carefully written dialogue, as well. Laura is supposed to be really upset when Lucas drops an ice cream in her lap, but what does she do? She has a fit of the giggles and he joins in. This is supposed to be serious, I tell them, but they don’t listen. She’s kissing him now, and that’s not supposed to happen until halfway through the next chapter. I think I may have lost the plot altogether.

I did threaten to kill one of them off, or maybe drop Laura off a cliff, but they don’t seem bothered. They know it’s all going to turn out happily in the end.

Lucas wants to look like Michael Fassbender, but I tell him he can’t have everything he wants. It’s my story. 


  1. I know this feeling, Fay. It's even harder with secondary characters, because then you really have to slap them back and tell them it's not even their story!

    I like Michael Fassbender. In X-Men First Class he reminded me so much of Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music.

  2. Oooooh yes, know it so well. I hate writing the dreaded synopsis and every time I send in the finished story, I have to add the same line: You'll see it changed a little (joke!) from the synopsis. Sorry, but the characters didn't like my plans and took over!
    Love Chrissie (still anonymous despite all efforts and suggestions)

  3. I must be terribly controlling because I slap my lot down as soon as they get out of order BUT I think it can actually be wonderful when they start making their own minds up. That's when they start to surprise me and if they're surprising me, then hopefully they'll surprise the reader which is good. Michael Fassbender's not come across my radar until recently but he certainly has a rather attractive, 'tortured' look about him! Cara

  4. It really is uncanny how characters develop into real live people. Interesting, too!!

  5. That's when you know your writing is going well. The subconscious is working away feverishly in the background while you go about your day and then it all springs into action in the characters. Wonderful!

  6. And it's not only the characters that get pushy. I'm always getting snatches of dialogue or thoughts or a more suitable description or whatever for a prior or upcoming scene and am sent scrambling for my notepad to jot it down to add later to get it out of my head so I can get back to the current page. Sometimes inspiration can be overwhelming - in a good way.