Fiction characters taking over writing your novel or short story is usually seen as a good sign that your characters are developing.
But where do you draw the line?
For the past couple of years I have been dressing up as my main Beyond mystery novel character, Dana Bowman, and do short comedy skits at libraries, cafes, etc. In the past few months, when rewriting Beyond Faith for my publisher, Dana has been taking over. It is like I am channeling her.
This isn’t the first time that was picked up. A few months after the previous Beyond novel – Beyond Blood – was published, I was interviewed on the Liquid Lunch on thatchannel. com. Sandra, one of the interviewers said it was like i was channeling my characters. Hmm. Around about the time I started doing skits featuring Dana.
But now Dana is claiming to have written Beyond Faith? What? We have internal discussions about that. Right now I’m letting her think she co-authored Beyond Faith with me. Really, it is my name on the book cover, although she gets mentioned on the back cover – in the book synopsis.
Internal discussions may be the key word to some sort of sanity. Or if out loud in the privacy of your writing space, your office, your home. You don’t want to be like the pour soul on the subway last evening.
He was a young fellow in a hoodie carrying a backpack. Which could be a red flag. He was running back and forth to the different subway cars – something not allowed on the old subway cars with actual doors between cars. As he entered the cars he would look at someone and carry on a conversation about something that made no sense. Then he would dance around a bit, grab the bar overhead and start swinging. After a few minutes of this, he went into another subway car.
I suspect he was high on something. But what if he was in character? What if he is an author and he was letting his character speak? What if?
Probably not. But it could serve as a guideline of how far not to go with your character acting out. Public transit and public streets no. But if you are a scheduled author presenting at a library or conference, yes, be your character.
And in the privacy of your writing area, yes – if it helps you develop your character, develop your plot.
There is a fine line between madness and sanity and I’m not sure where authors can safely cross the line.
As for Dana Bowman, I’ll still channel her; I’ll still carry on conversations with her. I will sometimes listen to her.
But I wish she would listen to me sometimes.
The bane of creating characters.
If you want to see how Dana is invading my life, see the comparisons between the two of us posted on my website here.
And please comment to answer this question. Are your fiction characters taking over writing your plot? How do you feel about that? Is it a help or hindrance to your writing?
Sharon A. Crawford
Here’s the cover of the latest Beyond mystery novel. Click on the cover to see one of the places the book is available. And as you can see Dana Bowman’s name is not on the cover.