Character wrangling and cat herding

Very little news at the moment. Everything is ticking over. I finished The Wolf’s Destiny, sent it out and my first two readers discovered a HUGE motivation issue with one of my main characters. The upshot was, I contacted the other readers and said “Please don’t. I will rewrite it and send it again.” Oh, it was going to be SO easy. Just a few tweaks here and there…

Weeks later…

I have issues with my characters at the best of times. It’s not a conscious thing. I fall somewhere between a plotter (one who plots) and a pantser (one who writes by the seat of their pants). I may have an idea of a story arc, of particular scenes and events that I want to happen but I don’t have a detailed roadmap of how I’m going to get to the end. Maybe a few sentences per scene. Maybe… not.

I’d envisaged Shan doing something drastic. Which he did. He’s quite good that way. Unfortunately Jeren is not. And she started out as such a nice girl. Unfortunately for me I decided that if she stayed a nice girl she was going to have a miserable life so The Wolf’s Sister was about knocking her ingraned obedience out of her and The Wolf’s Mate was about her growth as a strong and independent woman.

Independent of me, it seems. Jeren didn’t like the plot I’d thought up for her. She wanted to do her own thing. Being Jeren, she did.

So what did I do? I picked on Shan of course. And spent a long time rewriting his thread. And being very very mean to him. She suffers too! Oh believe me, she suffers. She deserves every freaking minute of it for all the hassle she just put me through.

Yes, I love my characters. They are my imaginary friends. But we don’t always get along.

And why did I put cat-herding in the title? Well, that’s what it feels like sometimes. My characters have minds of their own. I can’t always get them to do what I want so have to adapt the story to suit them. There’s probably some deep-seated subconscious reason for this but I’m not sure what it is and I don’t want to delve too deeply. Who knows what I might find?!*

Suffice to say, I am happy when this happens, if a little bewildered and irritated. It’s like finding out someone you love can stand up for themselves. You want to help them, but wow, its so much better to see them win through on their own, because they are strong, brave, clever and determined enough. When a character becomes a full blown entity in the mind of the writer, hopefully some of that will reach out the reader and infect them with my madness make the characters three dimensional and believeable.

Hopefully you, the reader, will love them as much as I do.

I am a little sad in a way because even knowing that there are still edits and edits and OMG more EDITS ahead, this is the final part of Jeren and Shan’s story. There will be other stories (and who knows, they may come back. I’ve learned never to rely on Jeren to do anything I want). Whatever happens they are special to me. I’ve fallen in love with them, their friends and their world, along side them every step of the way.

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*Yes, I’m worried I might sound a bit mad. I talk to my characters. I have arguments with them. It’s better that I share what the voices in my head say, isn’t it? Rather than just, you know, listen to them.

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