by David Belt copyright 2013
My favorite moments in books are when character do things I don’t expect. It is often the long play of events, late in the book, in which a plot twist changes the course of the adventure. Maybe a villain is revealed in the ranks of the heroes, or a villain grows a conscience over a particularly distasteful act. I often applaud the works of writers when these delightful surprises arise, but the more I write the more I realize that many of the surprises I so enjoy are not planned by the writers.
Some of the most amazing character surprises I’ve had lately have come from my own characters. The more I write the more my characters seem to take on a life of their own. At times, I feel less like a writer, dictating the action, and more like an editor, reading about my characters exploits.
When this first happened to me, I was rather annoyed that my characters weren’t doing what I wanted. As this trend periodically continued, I learned to tolerate the characters’ arrant behavior and eventually enjoyed the opportunities they have taken to surprise me. It’s been a strange journey, but I’ve learned to trust my characters, so I give them a little more free reign in their actions and enjoy reading the surprises.