Characters Who Push Back
Looking back through the last few months of posts here on Write Anything, I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to conclude that the writers of this blog generally think of characters as dynamic beings. Several posts have discussed the how certain characters are easily led, while others are uncooperative. We have heard about interviewing them and challenging them to get at their inner core.
From talking to myriad writers over the years, I can say with some confidence that this is not a unique point of view. Few authors seem to have difficulties with their scenes or plots not cooperating. But it’s a common feeling that particular characters are just plain uncooperative.
I find this concept fascinating—for although I have experienced it, I am at a loss to explain it, but on some level I know that it’s a sign that you have created a good character.
I know this because only well-formed characters are rounded enough to develop their own personality…their own energy…their own will…
Put them in the right situation and the scene will zip along, because you don’t have to worry about making them act the way you want them to. Instead, they take on a life of their own and all you have to do is chronicle what they’re doing.
But put these characters in a situation they wouldn’t allow themselves in, or try to get them to act in a way they wouldn’t and they will fight with all their non-corporeal strength.
So if you find yourself in the situation of having of these irascible characters pushing back, what should you do?
If you’ve a character of this quality, it’s likely that you’ve connected with her on some level. If you are lucky or skilled enough to create a character with this kind of spark—with a life of their own—you do whatever you can to keep them intact and honest. Scenes, plots, descriptions and whatnot are a whole lot easier to come by than a compelling character.