When Characters Surprise You

As I’ve posted before, I’ve been working my way through the first major edit/overhaul of my WIP “Grendel.” Right now I’m 330 pages in with about twenty left to go. But those twenty pages are all going to be brand new–as the fifty before it are–because as I edited something odd happened. My characters decided to change things.

This isn’t a completely new experience for me. When I write the goal is actually to have them do this. I want them to start talking back to me and pushing the story away from my original idea because it means I’m onto something. The story has come to life.  What *is* new is who decided to throw a wrench in the works. In the past it’s always been the MC, telling me they weren’t happy with how things were shaping up. This time, though, it was someone completely different.

In my first draft there was a very minor character who was only there for some backstory and threat in one particular section. He was an old, nasty guy who gave my MC a lot of lip, mainly to help me push her toward change. Imagine my surprise when I got to the point where he shows up in revisions and I realized he looked wrong. For one, he wasn’t old. He was the same age as the MC. For another, he wasn’t just a nasty piece of work who was there to mouth off and piss her off in one scene. No, he was actually a main character. He was going to do a heck of a lot more than snark. He was going to change the playing field, manipulate and cajole and confuse the heck out of her about what he was up to. He was going to hand her the keys to getting the bad guy, as it were, but he was also going to cause a whole crapload of trouble for her. And–most surprisingly for this originally disposable character–he was going to be instrumental in what goes down in book two and three.

Holy crap, he’s an antihero. And he has been so fun to write it’s almost a crime.

So while my goal to have revisions done by St. Patrick’s Day went out the window, I can’t say I mind. I’m too curious to see where this character is going to go.

3 thoughts on “When Characters Surprise You”

  1. Love the idea of a character taking on a life of his/her own. Kind of like the antihero within sneaking a peak from behind the gray matter that fills the skull, slipping out of the dreamspace into an open play area where there’s a slide and a seesaw to ride.

    Like your blog..annielaural

  2. Love the image, lol. It’s so appropriate to this character, you have no idea. Though he might be more of a monkey bars kind of guy. :-)

    I’m happy to say my alpha reader loved him, too. He’s deliciously messed up, and who doesn’t like that (at least in fiction)?

    Thanks for stopping by! It’s always great to see fellow AWers.

  3. F*ckin’ awesome things here. I’m very satisfied to see your post. Thanks so much and i’m having a look ahead to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

Comments are closed.