Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Those Unruly Characters

Post (C) by Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines

Photo (C) Doris McCraw

Have you ever had that character that just simply would not cooperate when you're trying to tell their story?

One of the first times I ran across that was a medieval short story I was writing. I had my character all figured out, I knew what their character arc was going to be, and who their love interest and antagonist were going to be. Do you think this character would cooperate? Of course not.

I started that story, then I started it again, then I started it again. My protagonist would not cooperate. I was under a deadline. So I slept on the issue for about three days. Then it hit me, I would simply kill him off.

Now I know what you're thinking, well at least I think I do, how could I write a story if my main character is dead. Aha! That is what I'm going to tell you.

I set my character in the present day. Since he was going to be a knight of sorts I had him in the military. He was getting ready to fire into the enemy when the world went blank.

He woke up nine hundred years earlier. Of course, he didn't know where he was, and the environment was completely different from what he had remembered. Then, of course, I had him run into his friends. Not his friends from the present day, no his friends who knew him as the person's body he took over.

Please don't panic, the body he took over was the body of a man who had just died. What ensued was a man who was feeling his way through a time he didn't know. I had great fun writing this character. He'd kept his memories from the past or should I say his future.

Now you would think that my characters would realize that if they didn't cooperate something horrible might happen to them.

I started a story that takes place in cripple Creek during the labor strikes of the late 1890s. Everything was going along swimmingly until I got to the end of the story. My protagonist got himself into a bit of a pickle. Unfortunately, he was left hanging over a hole in the ground with a noose around his neck. I think he got angry at me because I still haven't been able to finish the story.

So the next time you have an unruly character be careful with their egos and their story. I hope this short experience I've had will save you some headaches in the future.

Until then, I hope to get my Cripple Creek character back on track and out of the mine.

Until Next Time: Stay safe, Stay happy, and Stay healthy. 



Julie Lence said...

We all have those characters who will not cooperate. Or talk to us so we can transfer their words and thoughts to the page. I usually turn my attention to chores. Something moving around with the mop and vacuum releases what's stuck and I'm running to jot down notes. Thank you for sharing... Going to have to threaten to kill off a character next time they don't cooperate and see what happens, lol!

GiniRifkin said...

Always reassuring to find out other authors have the same problems with characters. Your Medieval sounds really good! Just had to change my antagonist to a sympathetic secondary red herring character. Sometimes its a long twisty road to "the end".

Renaissance Women said...

Julie, Sometimes it works, and sometimes they just get stubborn. LOL. I tend to walk a lot and many times the characters and I just have a 'come to meeting' talk. I think that is a wonderful part of being a writer, you can talk to yourself and folk don't seem to mind. Doris

Renaissance Women said...

Gini, I do think we all have our moments with our characters. They become so real, well they are to the writer.
I'm hoping to expand the Medieval story now that I have my rights back. I'll keep you in the loop. Pleease keep me up on your latest story. Doris

Ruthie Manier said...

Gini, this happens a lot with my characters. They are stubborn, unruly, and like me dislike being told what to do. I enjoyed this read. Thank you.