Controlling your Characters

I’ve heard so, so many people tell me that letting your characters take control of your story is something you don’t want to do. They say that it will destroy your plot, you will end up with ridiculous words and ridiculous situations.

I think differently.

The beauty of writing is letting your characters write the book for you. Yes, it will be chaotic, and yes, you will end up with something you didn’t plan on being in your book. But then it’s real. Your character is bringing in that little flair that your novel lacked.

So no, I don’t believe letting your character take control is a bad thing.

However, you must be careful.

EXTREMELY careful.

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month, and I’ve been getting my words down through multiple word sprints. And if you don’t know what a word sprint is, let me enlighten you:

Word sprint- A limited amount of time where you type as fast as you can, generally making so many grammatical errors in only one sentence that your English teacher would have a heart attack.

Word sprinting is a great way to just add more words to your word count. And it allows your characters to shine through and take your plot line on crazy twists and turns.

And when I say crazy, I mean: CRAZY

Yet there are dangers to this method of writing and letting your character take control. As a writer, you need to have ultimate say in the writing of your book. You are the BOSS.

If you let your character dictate every single thing of your book, you will end up with a mess. And when you go back to edit, you will have so many dangling plot strings, you won’t know where to start.

That’s why a little goes a long way.

Let your character add that bit of genius that you lacked while trying to follow your plot points exactly. Let your book take some twists and turns. Let your conflict be controlled to an extent by your character and you’ll find that it will be something that your character can feel emotion over.

Have fun. 

Just following plot points is NOT fun. You don’t immerse yourself in your world, you stay right above it, like some stern dictator who never enjoys anything that he’s dictating.

Allow your character to draw you into the universe of your book.

So, my final words to you are these:

A book is only as believable as its world, but its world is only as believable as its characters. 

Good luck!

-Julia H-

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