The trouble, I have discovered, with writing fictional characters is that they have a habit of trying to take over. Like Pinocchio, they all yearn to be real, to cut the strings by which you control them.
It starts off well enough, you write something to define who they are, what they look like, how they fit into the story and that’s straightforward enough. Great, you think, this is easy. So you sit down and write some dialogue for them and suddenly they are saying all sorts of things that never entered your head. You think, fine, enough dialogue, lets do some action, may be a description of what’s happening, a bit of ordinary stuff, scenery and that. Next thing you know, they are trying to muscle into the limelight and if that’s not enough, they have you writing all kinds of salacious and other nonsense. Then there are the characters that have no business being there at all and just wander in off the street for a look around before disappearing again.
Let me give you some examples:
One of my characters is supposed to be a supporting, not main, character but is definitely making a bid for the star billing. A total attention seeker. This character goes for a drive, next thing I know I’m writing classic sports car porn about V8 engines and stripping down bodywork. Before long, she (yes, SHE) is trying to get me stripping her bodywork and doing all sorts of naughty things, via a bit of food porn. Can I get her to stop trying to get her knickers off? Not a chance. I ask you!
My (supposedly) main character, on the other hand, doesn’t really want to talk to me at all, let alone anyone else, unless they happen to be dead, in which case he’s quite voluble (no, he’s not into dead people in that way!)
As for the villain, far from being secretive and hard to spot (this is a murder MYSTERY), he came right out of the stalls trumpeting his total sadistic w*nker credentials. I had to re-write that bit and leave all the real nastiness for later. (He does still drive a BMW – ’nuff said) It was a close thing whether he survived the chapter though. I decided I loathed him so much I almost killed him off in a car crash there and then. Last I saw him, he was passed out drunk on the sofa in front of the TV. <Shudders>. ..He may never wake up.
Other characters are just being rebellious. One doesn’t like the man I’ve got lined up for her and has found her own (I’ve rather fallen for him myself as it goes). He’s sort of inspired by Hestia, part Irish Wolfhound and part Johnny Depp. She’d happily get her kit off for him. (Well, wouldn’t you? <cough> OK, perhaps not the wolfhound bit.) I also suspect she is trying to get me to write <whispers> chick-lit. I’m not entirely sure I know what this is, but I suspect I don’t like it.
One of my coppers isn’t sure he likes the age I’ve made him and can’t decide if he wants to be older or younger. The other one doesn’t really want to be in the book at all and would rather be in a different book, one with pretty girls and parties.
And so it goes on.
On a different topic, as the royal wedding non-news speculation continues to gain a nauseating momentum, I find myself wondering: Why is it that women, who would normally rather be cut into small pieces and be served on cocktail sticks with chunks of pineapple than be seen in the same dress as another woman at a party, are suddenly desperate to have the exact same dress as Kate wotsername. Bizarre!