To Parent a Character

November 20, 2019


I am very character driven. A character comes to me and then their story just sort of unfolds. Sometimes this works great and others… not so much. For instance, I have one character, Ace, who is 15. I know his story, I know what’s supposed to happen. He doesn’t seem to think so though, because here we are, end of 2019… and his story still isn’t finished.


I started his story back in 2005. 14 years ago, and I’m still trying to get him to stop doing stupid things so the story can be completed. I know many of you are like my husband and will say, ‘But you’re the author, you control what happens’.


To which I would reply, ‘WELL… if only it was that easy.’


One of the problems I’ve found in being character driven, is trying to write a story that you have in mind with a character that has something else planned.


So how do I make this work? Well… a few suggestions.


One. I can give in and just write it the way he wants it to go. This means that certain things won’t take place and certain things might happen that weren’t planned out. For better or worse… I’d just let him run the show.


Two. I write it how I see it happening and just make him do what I want. This means that something might not add up. He might do something out of character or there is a weird jump from one place to another and the flow is off.


Either way, the story is going to feel off unless I can come to some form of agreement with my character. Sometimes it feels like they’re my children. Being told to do something only for my words to just bounce off them and be lost in the sea of other words that have been tossed overboard.


But alas, that’s the curse of writing sometimes. Your characters become your children and you just have to find a balance… so maybe one day their story can be told right.








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Flint Area Writers 2016.

Content by Melodie Bolt.

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