Home > Parenting, WIP, Writing > I’m the boss, guys.

I’m the boss, guys.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that my new work’s characters were willfully disregarding my outline. (“Newsflash, characters: I’m writing the story. Not you!“)

Since then, they’ve become even more willful. Despite the fact my outline contained exactly no references to a lad named Jacob, one of my story’s protagonist’s has an entire Gchat conversation with him on page 11:

Abigail: yo, u there?
Jacob: I’m here. If I weren’t, my status would show it. UNLIKE YOU.
Abigail: whatevs. i got bigger things to think about. UNLIKE YOU.
Jacob: My soul! You’ve crushed it!
Abigail: suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure
Abigail: anyway i have a favor
Abigail: u free tom.?
Jacob: Tom? Who’s Tom?
Abigail: haha. u suck. but i need a fave, k?
Jacob: Your wish is my command, if it’s both reasonable and practical.
Abigail: can u take me to eugene tom.? and a friend?
Jacob: Take you to Eugene, then to a friend’s? Sure.
Abigail: omg. stfu noob. can u take me n a friend to eugene tom.? pretty pls?
Jacob: You make wanting to do you favors so enticing.
Abigail: are u freE? can u do it?
Jacobsigh I’m free. As for whether I’ll do it . . .
Abigail: yes pls!?!?
Jacob: How serious are you?
Abigail: way
Jacob: Serious enough that you’d have dinner with me Sunday evening?
Abigail: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew u did not just say that
Jacob: That answer makes me think I’m not especially interested in driving your sorry ass to Eugene tomorrow.
Abigail: siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh ok yes i’ll have dinner w u sunday
Jacob: What time shall I pick you up tomorrow, then?
Abigail: 9. gotta clear w mom tho
Abigail: will let u know if not 9 k?
Jacob: You’d better not. I’m counting on Sunday.
Abigail: l8r loser!
Jacob: Good night. Also, it’s a good thing you don’t talk like this in person.
Abigail: i shud. then u wouldn’t want to date me!
Jacob Miller did not receive your message.

I can protest all I want. I can throw a fit in the style of my son, who screams and thrashes when he’s denied power cord nomming privileges. Yet it’s pretty clear that Abigail is just going to keep on talking to Jacob throughout the novel, no matter what I say.

It’s looking more and more like writing is advanced training for having a teenager.

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  1. March 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I like the idea that you create the characters, flesh them out, then you let them breath and dictate the action, so to speak. True characters should be able to speak for themselves, and take the story off in different tangents never planned out before. And it’s good training for parenting. Psst, the secret is- we’re never really in control. Don’t tell anyone I told you. 😉

    • March 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      “True characters should be able to speak for themselves”
      Well put! I’m really coming to see this. But for this fact, writing would be a rather dull affair . . . like going down a checklist at the office, instead of learning about the people and the story waiting to be shared.

      “Psst, the secret is- we’re never really in control. Don’t tell anyone I told you.”
      Heh. It’s good to have this confirmed, but I promise I won’t tell anyone where I obtained the knowledge, if they’re so brave as to ask!

  2. March 29, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I know just what you mean, and I feel the same way. Despite everything we want, our characters are alive, with thoughts and actions and feelings that we don’t always agree with. When this happens to me, I feel helpless–just like I do when my one of my kids throws a fit in public and nothing I do will calm him or her down. I just have to breathe and wait to see what happens next–just as I do when I write.

    Nice excerpt–very fun to read!

    • March 29, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks! The excerpt here was the easiest unplanned diversion I’ve yet written. There’s a lot of humor innate in the situations my protagonists find themselves in already (tho’ the root situation is fairly grim), but this was easily the most fun. A lot of the other deviations are a little more frustrating, like with some of the dialogue. I want the conversations to be short and snappy, but the characters want to get really deep into things. I’m trying to be patient throughout these conversations since they’re a huge part of how I’ll come to know my characters, even if I do cut the heck out of the conversations later!

  3. October 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

    You –this–hilarious! I love the characters!! And hey, contracts woman, let the characters talk! Character should make plot to a greater extent than plot should make character–you know? Rock it out sister!

  1. July 11, 2011 at 2:59 am
  2. October 31, 2012 at 5:43 am
  3. February 1, 2013 at 5:02 am

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