Friday, August 7, 2009

On My Control Over My Characters (Not)

I wrote the first draft of Always Faithful in less than two months. That was more than three years ago. I've been tinkering with the vocabulary, the spelling and the formatting (oh, dear, Lord let us not forget my endless battles with formatting!) ever since. The characters and the basic story line have resisted all my efforts to "improve" them.

It is as though the characters exist in some alternate universe and their story is what it is. I can only tell it; I can't change it. That may be exaggerating a little bit, but not as much as you might think.

I tried to force Jeff to make a different decision about his future, but he would not be deterred, nor would any of the other characters refrain from supporting him. I tried to take the story down some more bumpy roads to give the characters more obstacles to overcome, and lend more suspense and drama to the story. The characters made it clear that they had plenty of suspense in their lives and they didn't need me to artificially bump up the drama.

In the end Always Faithful remained faithful to its own internal integrity despite all my efforts over the past few years to make it something else. Perhaps that's as it should be. After all, the characters are true to their perceived duties and obligations. Why should their story be any different?

"Always Faithful" - E-store

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