Nothing excites me more than when my characters get disobedient. When they refuse to do what I have planned for them. When they go off in their own direction, completely unexpectedly.
Statements like that have produced strange looks from some of my acquaintances, but I see you nodding out there, you writers. You know what it’s like.
Invariably, the characters have better ideas than I do. Their refusal to do as I planned usually points out something about their intrinsic nature that deepens and enriches the story. It’s just delightful. This is what I love best about the creative process.
For example, one of the characters from my recent fantasy release, The Betrayal, has been bugging me to write about an event that took place before the time frame of that book. This is Jharan, the governor of Southfæld, for those who’ve read the book. He’s been insisting that I write about his becoming governor. Why? That happened hundreds of years ago! What book will it go into? I have no clue, but I’m writing it, and getting a lot of satisfaction from it. I trust that it will fit in somewhere, even if I can’t see how at the moment.
When the characters take control, they become the voice of my subconscious, which is a better storyteller than my conscious mind. That’s why it’s so exciting.
Weird? Not really. Everyone has their own creative process. Here’s a marvelous video of Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) talking about “A new way to think about creativity.” Enjoy.