You know how many times I’ve been interviewed about my writing rituals? So many times, I cannot count. Do you know what the most asked questions are?
How do you come up with your characters?
What was the most difficult character to write?
How do you know what you want your characters to do?
What people outside of writing don’t seem to understand is that characters are a tricky bunch. Look I don’t think of myself as creating my characters. Okay, okay, technically I create them. But they create the story. I see myself as a tool for their use. I’m just going along, a witness to the events sort to speak. That is really how I see my writing.
I write crime fiction and mysteries and the thrill of not knowing is what excites me. I don’t like to plan out everything before I write it. It’s nothing wrong with planning, but it is not my style. See the thrill for me is being able to get to know these characters naturally. I feel like I’ve hopped on a bus and met a bunch of new people. I follow them around, get to know them. Stalk them. I start by putting them in a position but soon they take off on their own directions.
I truly believe that a book is more powerful when the author allows their creativity to be free. I
mean completely free. Let your characters do and say what they want to. I never try to box my characters in. Sometimes they say and do things I don’t expect from them. Sometimes they go left when I want them to go right. Sometimes they kiss when I want them to fight. I’m telling ya’ I don’t control these characters! They have minds of their own, trust me. They come alive, I mean alive.
You know? Between you and me, I even think they’re real. Oh yeah, listen. I do. I think many writers feel this way. Characters aren’t just words on a page to me. No. They have more power than that. They leap off the pages and into my head constantly. I don’t care what I’m doing, these darn characters are always there.
But you know what? I like that. I love that. I crave it.
People refer to me as an author but I think of myself as just a tool. I swear, even though I can tell
you don’t believe me, I don’t have any control. Don’t trust any writer who says they control their characters. That’s bull-turkey crap. There’s no such thing.
The key to writing an engaging piece is for authors to be engaged themselves. Now how can I be engaged if I plan out everything in advance huh? For me, it’s the element of surprise. I love being a part of the mystery while writing it. I don’t mind not being in control 24/7. I know that seems hard to believe coming from a woman, but it’s true. That’s my muse’s job right?
Just wanted to let people know how it really is. Never trust a writer who says they control their characters. I’m telling you, it’s simply not true. It’s not possible. No, just not possible.