Friday, November 20, 2009

When Characters Take Over

Most writers feel this, I think. I certainly do. I want to feel it. I strive to feel it. I’m talking about when your characters seem to take over and make things happen. Now, I’m not going to argue the authenticity of the feeling. It's happened to me so I believe it. Maybe it is just finding the place, the altered state, which allows you to access that part of the brain that makes intuitive leaps. Or maybe you’re connecting to a higher power, any higher power. I don’t know.

Whatever. Your characters come to life. They take you places you hadn’t thought of or intended to go and these places are the right places for your story. Some of the truest writing comes from these moments because it’s coming from inside the world of the characters and story. You aren’t forcing it.

Of course sometimes you have to force it. Sometimes you have to work things out and plan a scene and re-imagine something that’s happened that seems wrong. You do all the work, you struggle and fight, and sometimes all of that allows you to get to that moment when the characters seem to take over.

Let them. Let go.

Enjoy it.


Paul Greci said...

Great post. When characters take over in a good way I think of this as being in the zone.

Brian Yansky said...

Thanks, Paul. I agree. And being in the zone feels effortless even though it's taken a lot of effort to get there.

Unknown said...

I love being here, in the zone but so many things have to fall into place to get there, shame!

Brian Yansky said...

Hi Blueeyedadri,The zone is a good place to be. And so many things do have to fall in place to get there. But I think it gets easier, there's more chance, if you're at your desk every day. There's that crazy poet who said he stood out in the rain every day just trying to get struck by lightening. Fortunately, we novelists are much saner. We just sit at our desk hoping to get struck by lightening. I do believe that those moments in the zone are great moments that come out of the everyday struggle of getting the story down.

Elisabeth Black said...

So true. Found your blog through Debbie Ohi on Twitter a few days ago; I'm enjoying it.

Brian Yansky said...

Thanks, Elizabeth.

Lindsay said...

Recently experienced this feeling for the first time while writing my NaNoWriMo novel.

Felt crazy and exciting. Here's my blog post.

(Enjoying your blog. Keep writing.)