Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Where did that character come from?

As I've noted before, I usually try to get a good idea of my characters before I start to write. I like to know some of their background, their history, any quirks and oddities lurking in their fictional closets.

The other day I was working on my current manuscript and I was working on a Snip Scene: this is a scene I know I'll use at some point in the ms, I'm just not exactly sure where or when. The heroine and hero are talking and the lights go out. The lights should not go out. Bad guys are coming.

The hero goes to his desk and takes out a gun. The heroine asks if he has a backup. I gave her some knowledge of firearms, so this is not unusual. Then she proceeds to talk through an escape plan that's really pretty darn good. He says, "You're not a typical governess." And she says [wait for it], "No, I've done quite a bit of security work."

Well, damn -- that's the first time I heard about it! Suddenly a whole new realm of possibilities opened for me with this woman. Maybe that explains why she did so-and-so in the past; maybe that's why she reacted that way to a previous scene. I knew the events of her past, but now I know the why of them.

Did my unconscious mind know that this was going to come out of the blue like that?

This has totally changed the plot line (in a good way, I might add) and I am having fun with this 'new' character in my book. I really can't wait to see what happens next.



8 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Interesting, JL! I love when that happens. :-) Enjoy writing your "new" character!

Vonnie Davis said...

When I read "what for it", my sleepy, non-caffeinated eyes read, "I've done a lot of secretary work." I need coffee! I've had that happen--a surprise from characters. Some are good surprises, some aren't. Some require I go back and rewrite previous chapters. Sometimes, I yell at the laptop, set it aside, and pace as I continue to fuss at my character. In the end, I always seem to lose, and the book is better for it.

Jannine Gallant said...

I tend to have a go with the flow attitude toward my characters. It's great when their little "surprises" are ones you can work with! Your heroine sounds like an interesting character, JL.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Cool, JL. Moments like yours (and mine) bring me back to the computer every day. Since I'm a pantser, the surprises keep rolling in as I write. That's the fun of it!

Diane Burton said...

Love when that happens! So much fun. That's what makes me come back to the computer, too. The surprises.

Christine DePetrillo said...

This is what makes writing THE BEST JOB EVER! I'm forever mumbling things like, "She used to be in the navy?" because, like, that was a HUGE surprise to me even though I've spent hours upon hours, days upon days constructing what I thought to be every angle of a character's persona. Great post.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Happens to me a lot too with characters and I LOVE IT! (Shouting like Chris here ;-) It's especially nice when you get those AHA! moments. "Oh that explains a lot!" Glad you're having fun. That's the point of writing, right?

Andrea Downing said...

And arguing with those characters doesn't seem to help, I"ve found. They are who they are, and they know who the hell they are. Good luck!