She’s done it again. Private Investigator Dana Bowman has jumped out of Beyond Blood and Beyond Faith to run amok in the real world. Is she going too far? Has she taken over?
When your main fiction character takes over your story, what should you do? Scream? Kick her or him back into the manuscript? Go with the flow (or flood)? Or listen to what he or she is saying?
Often you get so deep into writing your short story, novella or novel that it seems like the story is getting away from you. You are sitting there writing away in a creative fog or focus (take your pick) and suddenly it dawns on you. Hey, just who is writing the story?
First, take a deep breath. A character getting involved in their story is not always a bad thing. It is a sure sign that your character is alive and you are deeply connected to his life. You know better how he operates because he is telling you this – or so it seems. That can be a good thing. Maybe your story was getting dull with something missing. Then it was as if your character jumped in to save the story? Your character is also telling you who he is and how he acts and speaks..
But what if the character is way off base? Not necessarily adding on to what you envisioned as the latter can be a big help. But what if the character has turned so unrecognizable that he just doesn’t seem to be himself?
Sometimes this character reveal develops your character in ways that makes the plot work better. It is as if you are getting insides from deep down. But….
If your character really seems to have gone off the rails and it is not because he is drunk, on drugs or hasa psychological condition…then you need to stop and take stock.
Sop writing and sit back. Go over your character descriptions and what you have written in your story so far and remind yourself where you as a writer want to go with this character, with this story and with the two connected.
Are your character’s actions and diaogue things he would do and say in character – even when he is angry; even when he is sad? For example, if your character has a habit of swearing when upset, and suddenly is throwing plates,. you .need to step back and think. Was the situation something that would push your character over the edge? And how would he react when pushed over the edge? This latter would tie in with his traits. For example. if big on justice and the law, and somebody in his life has crossed the line – maybe beat up his spouse – would you main character beat up the wife-beater? Is that how hat character would exact justice? Maybe, if you have made this character the type of person who when pushed too far takes the law into his own hands. Or maybe not.
Sometimes you might just need to sit down and have a conversation with your character and ask “Just what were you thinking when you…?
And yes, I do carry on conversations with Dana bowman. But she still leaps out of the Beyond books and does her thing – which consists of mostly dissing me, her author. And she even says she wrote Beyond Faith.
Now tthat’s when you start worrying about your character taking over.
If you want to see Dana Bowman in action, she opens all my Crime Beat Confidential TV shows on thatchannel.com and here is a link. This is the third episode where Dana actually returns later in the show to do some of the interviewing of our guest, a real life private investigator. At least it gets Dana off my back…momentarily.
Now if Dana would just use some of that energy to take care of the crap in my life – you know cleaning the house, doing the dishes.
But she won’t. I didn’t create her that way. She doesn’t even cook. It’s her fraternal twin PI Bast Overture who cooks.
Maybe i should rethink Dana and have her take cooking lessons in the next Beyond book. Yeah right. the books are murder mysteries so Dana is liable to poison someone with her cooking..