When Characters Rebel

There our heroine was, typing at a mighty clip, when her protagonist took root on the spot and refused to play along with the others nicely. What was she to do, dear Reader?

It happens. 26k words into a well-established storyline, my hero just wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t speak. Wouldn’t move. The other characters took their cue from him. Suddenly I was faced with the Chapter That Would Not Flow. I went so far as to scrap it and start again. 2.7k words into the chapter, I had to admit it was happening again.

I had no choice: I got to know my characters better. Walking away was not an option. Momentum is a priority for me, as you know. Rather than just rewrite my notes, I spent some time with each one. To my dismay and joy (very zen, I know), I discovered that my image of each had been somewhat pale. They showed me greater dimensions and stronger lines.

Now I’m tweaking the WIP to work with the new view I have of the characters. Pruning here, adding there. As their motivations became more clear, so did plot arcs. I’m excited about the changes. The story is much stronger, no great surprise.

Funny thing is that I’d already decided this inaugural Friday Forum would be about Character Creation. Go figure. I just had a crash course in how important it is to do that thoroughly. I’m eager to share the techniques I used with you.

See you Friday!

Jessica Rose @jessrosenbooks


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5 thoughts on “When Characters Rebel

  1. Violet Hilton July 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm Reply

    I’m looking forward to the Friday Forum posts 🙂

    It’s kind of funny, because a similar thing happened to me yesterday. Only backwards.

    I was zooming along, writing up a storm. Everything was flowing nicely! Then my bad guys started tossing out these cultural details that were really just building blocks of one of my MCs. I paused and half balked until it hit me that this was nice character and cultural depth that I was happy to have accidentally come up with! So I went back through the earlier parts of the story and added the necessary bits to introduce the stuff the bad guys were talking about. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever done that, but it wasn’t bad at all.

    Today, as a result, I’ve made an effort to note the motivations and ultimate fears of my two MCs. I’ll pester my secondary characters later, but even that little bit of contemplation and note taking pulled me quickly out of a fast approaching story slump.

    Can’t wait to see the character development info this Friday! More goodies for the writer’s toolbox. 😀

    Oh and thank you for the blogroll link too!


    • Jessica Rosen July 1, 2009 at 4:58 pm Reply

      Very cool that it all worked out so well for you and that you could roll with it. I’m still working out whether I should do what you’ve done or start fresh. Leaning toward the former, though.

      Thanks for the inspiration,
      Jessica Rosen


  2. Judy, EssentialWriters.com July 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm Reply

    Hi Jessica,
    Your blog is fabulous – really well thought out, insightful and valuable to all kinds of writers. Let me know if you would like to get involved with my site – I think my visitors would love you!


    • Jessica Rosen July 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm Reply

      Very much appreciated, Judy, both the compliments and the offer. I’m intrigued and will definitely be in touch. Mind if I link to you?

      Thanks again,
      Jessica Rosen


  3. […] @ 10:14 pm Tags: character, exercise, fiction, links, novel, writer, writing As I mentioned in my last post, my characters stopped playing with one another nicely recently. It took a little time for me to […]


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