Several times I have complained to my mom about how much some person in one of my stories really annoyed me, or something of that nature. She laughed (she didn’t get it). There are periods when I feel as though my characters either take over, or don’t go in the direction I want them to. They really do take over! And I don’t like it, most of the time. Many of my heroines turn out to be pretty vexing, in the way that they just talked–it’s as though they make themselves into the strong-willed figure, and I am sitting there thinking, how did this happen?!!! Perhaps to explain better: in a novel I actually finished, my mother, sister and others reading it did not like the way I ended the story–why? I ended the story, having my main character reject one gentleman (Julian), and go for the other one who did not really gain much sympathy with the audience. I don’t know how it happened! My intention was to make them like the man who won my central lady’s heart, but instead I made the tragic character Julian, without even meaning to. Everyone loved him…my sister chastised me for matching the girl up the way I did. My mom did, and other readers did as well. I didn’t like Julian a bit, after this. I hadn’t cared for him much already.
It may sound strange, but to me, characters could be real people. Of course they aren’t–but to writers, they are more than just creations of our own minds, characters that we can dissolve just as easily as we create them. Of course, I can revise the story, and turn this Julian into someone who isn’t as appealing as he seems to be to everyone else, but the original story made itself happen, made that young man into who he is now, without my least bit intention.
The very end of Julian’s failed proposal scene“But I am in love with you!” Julian was saying quietly, “I love you, I want to ask, to get it out before I lose you.” He sounded tired. “Diana, since we were children…since then we’ve been friends, but now can’t that be—” “Julian.” Diana wanted to hide from the world. But she sat there still, looking up at him. Julian’s eyes disclosed resignation. This childhood friend, this dear friend—she must break him, and that would break her. “Julian, I…I can’t.” “Diana—Diana,” he swayed ever so slightly, and picked up his coat from the grass beside Diana. “You mean what you say……I know, and I ought to—I’ve known you since I was a boy, but you can’t love me. It can’t be so.” Julian turned and began to walk into the forest, into the woods to vanish. Diana would never forget his white face, white to the very lips, wan and jaded. She heard herself call after him, voice threatening to break, “Julian! Julian, where are you going?” “I’m going away,” she heard him answer, and there were tears in his tone. “Goodbye.” Goodbye. Diana could not say the word. Then she lay down on the grass and began to weep silently.
all right. In this scene he looks rather pitiful. But he is supposed to be the childhood friend of Diana, who in some ways, hasn’t such deep introspection and gravity as needed. He is supposed to be something of a tease, her good friend who wants her, but who later realizes he didn’t love her in a really deep way. But it seems he really does. He just does. In the story, he turns out to be a hard-working fellow, who is a bit playful, but moreover stands out as a strong, focused personality. Not exactly what I intended.When you’re in the throes of creative passion, hammering away at words that seem to appear on your computer screen faster than you can think of them, when the story does things you never planned for it to do, when your characters take the bit in their teeth and gallop away onto trails unknown—that’s something almost too magical to put into words~K.M. Weiland