Do Your Characters Argue With You?

Hi everyone!

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The title for today’s blog is a bit, strange, I know, but I thought it appropriate after a recent shift in the story for The Orc War Campaigns.  Do your characters ever argue with you? It’s a valid question, or at least I think it is.

…No, I’m not crazy.  Really.  I don’t have conversations with my characters….

At least, not out loud.  :p

But the topic came up when I was working on the 8th episode of The Orc War Campaigns.  I had planned out early on in the series exactly where Zerek’s character was going to go by the end, what he was going to do, and why.  Without giving away too much, I wanted his dreams to come true. His dreams of becoming a soldier or a Warrior and serving his kingdom.

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And they started to.  But then his heart took him somewhere else.  Despite everything I’ve tried to do to steer him away from the course he was on, his character is, in a sense, arguing with me, or resisting.

I know I’ve touched on this topic in previous blog articles, where you’ve developed your characters so well that they take on a life of their own, and will almost tell you how they will act or react.  And when you try to make them do something that they wouldn’t, they go, “Nope, not happening.”

It’s a sensation that both elates me and frustrates me!  It tells me that I’ve done well with developing the characters, and that I should trust what is, in reality, my instincts or ‘inner voice’ telling me “Stop!  The direction you’re going in isn’t going to work.  Do this instead!”  That inner voice usually knows what it’s talking about it.

The frustration comes from having to change all subsequent plans, or at least modify them, to fit.  Thankfully in this case, it only changes what happens in Zerek’s story, and doesn’t affect Amaya or Arkad.

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The role Zerek plays is important not just in the Orc War Campaigns, and how it will end, but it also will become important to the events in book 3.  However, how it will play out now will be different.  And to be honest…I’m not entirely sure what Zerek’s final fate will be anymore.  How will episode 9 end?

I want to figure that out before I start episode 9, so that I’m sure I can lead up to it properly.  But perhaps I can try just letting his character lead me to his ‘final destination’ so to speak.  See how it plays out without planning ahead.  (They call writers who do that ‘pantsers,’ because they write by the seat of their pants!)

Tell Me Your Stories!

Have you ever had a character change course on you without warning like this?  Have you had a character fight against the direction you wanted to take them?  What did you end up doing about it?  Please tell us your stories in the comments below!  :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik


One thought on “Do Your Characters Argue With You?”

  1. Methinks “your” “problem” is that you own not just the characters but all of their timelines. When you started with “pen to paper,” you had some ideas of outcomes. (I, of course, have none. Guesses, maybe.) They were pseudo-firm, just not articulated word-for-word. Yet. As “stuff” happened, things changed. There were no arguments, there were refinements, insights, and “better” ideas. I read your tomes because they keep me interested. I want to see what YOU have created to happen next. Was it your original ending? Dunno. Don’t care. I *do* care if it is plausible, clever, consistent, pornographic (just made that up!), enjoyable, and pleasurable. (“This story was not a waste of time, undertaken ’cause I know the author. I started it because we “worked” together; but I am still turning pages (and looking forward to y-o-u-r next “episode”) because it is a VALUABLE USE of my time, in my recreational budget.” says I … talking to myself. 8>)=
    My writing has been tech docs, essays, poetry, and partial-memoirs. Nothing creative (except lousy poetry). I wrote the software, so the users’ manual is just a How To. The essays are just putting my thoughts into visible words, but the content is not gee-no-one-ever-thought-of-that-before. The memoirs are recollections of “What did you do in the war, Daddy?” kinds of kids’ school projects. (Okay, the part about my taking out a machine-gun nest single handed with a compound fractured leg was “creative.”) Their homework became my assignment.
    Besides interesting stories (short ones and novels), you also help me spend my rec budget with these almost-angst musings of the problems you experience as a professional writer. I find reading your blog pleasurable. (I apologize for consuming so many bytes on your page today.)
    Please, keep churning Your Goods out. Otherwise, Jan will expect me to clean out the basement!!!

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