In my Beyond mystery series, one of the main characters, Dana Bowman, often wants to be front and centre in the story. She even gets into my mind outside of writing time. I’ve posted about that before. Dana can get away with this. She’s one of the twin private investigators and it is her function to get all over the place. But what about a non-series character, a guest of one novel, who grabs the reins and insists?
In my third Beyond mystery book which I am currently writing, this is what’s happening. Without giving the plot away, there is a nun in the story who is important to the plot and as such some of the novel is her story. But she has invaded my mind and is insisting on being in almost every scene.
A little privacy, please, for the other characters and for the plot revelation. One important feature of mystery plots is that each character doesn’t have all the information; they don’t know all the plot. At the same time, putting all the information together for the reader, but at the same time having it happen throughout the story is important. Unless God is one of your main characters, each character doesn’t know it all and letting each character find out and reveal helps make for a good plot.
So, what do you do about “guest” characters trying to take over the whole novel?
- Acknowledge them – who they are and that they do have a purpose.
- Let them come into your mind and speak because if you shut them out you may lose good plot and character developments.
- But give them some parameters. Yes, they are important, but they are part of a whole, part of a plot.
- If necessary, give them timelines when it is okay to invade your mind. Not easy, but try the “not now, but (when?)” approach.
- Or when they invade, grab that notebook or iPad and start scribbling/typing their information. Sometimes doing something about it right away, stops the “invasion.” You can decide later whether to include it in your story.
- And make sure they are playing their important role in your novel. This can be done by having them be one of the novel’s point-of-view characters.
I know this may all sound crazy. But it is a good sign that your characters are real in the fiction sense. And that’s a good thing for your readers.
This evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., I get a chance to talk about developing series characters in fiction. Crime writers Rosemary McCracken (the Pat Tierney mystery fiction series), Nate Hendley (true crime) and I will be talking about writing crime – fiction and true – and getting our work published, to the Storytellers (love that name) writing group at the Angus Glen public library in Markham, Ontario, Canada. It is a Meet-up group. More information at http://www.meetup.com/The-Storytellers/events/221133884/
Sharon A. Crawford
Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com including a link to a radio interview at http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/ Online TV interview from Liquid Lunch is at http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY
Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile. If you buy a copy there, please do a review on amazon.