I used to write my secondary characters as place holders. They served a purpose and maybe had a name and then move on. I think they’re exerting revenge, because they’ve started coming out the woodwork and stealing my plot.
I didn’t notice at first. I was naive. It started with the innocent-seeming, doe-eyed character in one my series’ that dutifully played the best friend role. She was important, yes, and events surrounding her were sure to move the plot forward. One book is almost practically driven forward because of her.
Now my innocent little blonde friend is force-feeding me new interesting twists about herself that oh so conveniently set the stage up for her own story. Her own book, possibly even series, and I’m not even done talking about her best friend yet – who is supposed to be the star, hello. She’s whispering in my head when I should be working on different things. And just when I think she’s nice about it, she yanks me off my feet in a direction that she would like to go, thank you very much.
(^Look! My first gif!)
So okay. Maybe she just really needs to tell her story.
But now it’s spreading.
Enter the second series, the first book of which I’m almost done with. This character was supposed to play a role, get a theme across, and provide a contrast to my main character and lay out some of that social commentary I have mentioned previously.
But oh no. Now she’s making herself really complicated and providing all this depth. The little vixen keeps hijacking what I’m trying to do with her character and pulling out these aching moments of vulnerable strength you can’t help but love. She’s not demanding her own book (yet) – thank god – but she’s seriously exacting her pound of flesh.
And now she’s encouraging the other characters, too. Like a little circus master, her friends are starting to do and say things that I didn’t tell them to do.
It’s all going new and unforeseen places and I’m just stumbling along behind for the ride.
Okay, fine. Truth is, I can’t really complain. Writing for me takes on a life force of it’s own. I am not the master of my story; at some point I am just the tool of which these ideas enter this world. (Okay, well, obviously I control my craft, my art, my talent – but you understand, right? Right?) The story seizing it’s own destiny ends up creating something richer and better than what I had originally planned. It’s amazing to be along for the ride.