Your Characters Can Surprise You

If you know a writer, you may have heard this sort of thing from them.

If you are a writer, I pray you've experienced this because it's one of the greatest, most intoxicating thrills in writing.

A character decides what happens next.

Not like one of those choose-your-own-adventure stories where we're reading and there are a couple of options to pick from, which tailors the story to whatever appetites, inner-demons, or somnambulant proclivities that lurk in the back of our young minds like a creep in a long rain slicker at the playground.

But you're writing, usually for a good spell, and one of the characters makes a choice you hadn't intended. 

I wonder if the first time that happened, years ago, that I'd simply batted it away. 

"No, no, silly wisp of fiction in my brain, I've got this. Let's not make choices potentially more germane to the story-- let's go this way instead!"

It's likely I may have ignored any sort of "inner voice" and bashed on through. Some of those early stories, books, and scripts were really shitty.

These days, I write hoping to be struck by that strange "guidance".

Sure, it may be evil spirits left over from those who've toppled from my third floor writing space (loft 1, kitty 0), but I'm going with it. The results are often too thrilling.

Now, I'm enough of a realist to understand that it's not actually some disembodied character guiding the text but instead some facet of my subconscious bubbling up after working something out. Like a program running in the background (which explains why my main processor often grinds along so slowly).

Still, it's a thrill. And having worked in a number of different professions, I don't know of anything in any other that comes close.

So, today, I learned about forty pages into the new novel that I might currently be writing a sequel to Hell, Inc.

Who knew?