So, there I was, writing into Roguehunter, book III of the Magehunter Saga and the main character’s daughter has just been taken. I have extensively plotted all the chapters for this story and everything is set, with little notes added for all the additional little things that need to be dropped in at the right places for continuity. My dear Jace, (main character) should be distraught and absolutely beside himself and frantic in his efforts to locate, or at least find out what happened, to his little girl…
Jace had other ideas. He looked at me and made a rude noise, then said, “I wouldn’t act that way.”
“I need you to be that way, just to set up the next chapter.”
He chuckles. “That’s nice. Why do I have to be distraught, when I can really be useful in leading the effort to recover my daughter.”
“Arn’s teeth, man!” I shout at his irritating grin. “This is your daughter, possibly in the clutches of a very evil person.”
He waves his hand. “And running around without purpose finds her, exactly how?”
“Grrrrrrrr. Okay then, what WOULD you do?”
Jace smiles, rather triumphantly. “Well, for starters…”
He proceeds to lay out his ideas and I sit back and listen. Sound and logical, his plans are laid out in successive waves, with backup plans for nearly every stage. Afterwards, he looks at me and gives one last grin.
“So, what’s wrong with that?”
I grumble. “Nothing. I guess.”
The characters win again, which means chapter five needs to be rethought and plotted again. You would think, with all his magical might, Jace might just write the whole damn thing himself and give it to me. But then, I guess he did, by telling me the way he would go about things. Since he disagreed with me, he’s telling me that to write the scenes the way I had originally plotted would lend a certain character dissonance. I have to stay true to who he is and what he’s learned over the course of two books.
Point being. Make your characters real. Talk to them. Understand what drives them and makes them do the things they do. Believable characters are, without doubt, the most important thing in any book, in my opinion. An intricate, well plotted story line, falls flat with unbelievable, wooden characters.
Peace out folks!