I'm one of those writers who allow the characters to direct the story. As I wrote Reaper's Kiss, I had no idea where the story was taking me. Honestly, it was kind of a scary way to write. With my last novel, I had sort of a mental outline of where the story was going. I knew most of the elements that got the characters where they were meant to go. I knew all their secrets and how those secrets would come out. It made writing the story much easier. But with Reaper, my characters kept me in the dark pretty much the whole time. No amount of begging got them to budge even a centimeter in their silence. They were just bent on making me suffer down to the last second. They slowly, but surely told their story in my head and I just typed it out.
Now, if I had my way, I'd be a bit more organized in my writing endevor, but unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be how I roll. Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong withmy brain because it absolutely does NOT work in any sort of organized fashion. If I even attempt to outline, my mind shuts down -- I'm talking completely blank. Why is this I wonder? Is it because I'm just not an organized person (ask my husband. I'm sure you'd get an earfull). Or is it simply because if I try to force my characters to act a certain way they rebel? I'm thinking it's the latter. These characters are alive in my mind. For real. So much so that sometimes I fear my husband might think I'm having a mental breakdown.
For example: I don't swear, like, at all. I really don't. The worst thing I say is dang and I never say 'God' in any sort of vain way. But my character says 'Oh my God!' and the like all the time. Another character says certain non-vulgar swear words. I don't know how to explain to people (like my husband who looks at me incredulously when he sees my character swear) that it isn't me, it's the character. It makes me sound crazy to say, "That's how Zoe talks!". He doesn't get it. But as writers, we get it. As much as these characters are us in some way, they are also themselves. They speak the way they do. They act the way they do. We can't change that because if we try, it sounds wrong on the page. It glares out at us and says : "Really? You know d*** well I would never say this! What are you trying to do here?". At least that's what they say to me. But like I said, maybe I'm a little bit crazy here. ;)
Nah. I doubt it. I know lots of other writers and most of them will say the same thing. We're not really in control. The characters are. They let us know when we go astray, when we haven't been true to them. I'm kind of grateful for that, almost like I've got a partner in writing -- sort of. I love what I do, and I love telling these stories. It's just as much fun for me to discover their journey as it is for others to experience it through what I write. I truly hope that someday I can share these characters with a larger audience. That would be the ultimate dream come true -- for all of us. :D