Help! A Fictional Character Stole My Story

The strangest thing happened to me yesterday while I sat down to write. It was early afternoon, the kids were taking a nap and I was feeling particularly inspired to write, something that rarely happens when the sun is up. Not wanting to mess with the muse I sat down in front of my computer and started writing.

I was working on the beginning of my current contemporary romance, I needed to explain more of where my main character came from, show a glimpse into what her failed marriage felt like from the inside, instead of talking about it from the outside. My lead was sitting in the back of the limo she absolutely loathed being driven around by her husband’s chauffeur who always looked at her with pity in his eyes.

She rubs her temples trying to ward off the headache she can feel coming on while she looks out the window at the passing city blocks. As people under umbrellas and trench coats rush past her to get out of the rain, she spots a man leaning against the door frame of an old, boarded up store almost as if he’s waiting for someone. The limo rolls to a stop at a traffic light and she gets a better look at him. He seems dark, mysterious…completely soaked from the rain and not caring. Just as she’s about to look away his dark eyes flash a brilliant blue.

What? I shake my head. Where did that come from? She’s supposed to be driving home from the theatre, not finding weird guys with flashing eyes looming in darkened entry ways. This is a contemporary romance for goodness sake! I blink a couple of times to get my focus back to the lonely woman trying to come to grips with a failing marriage. As soon as my eyes look at the screen the world around me disappears.

My attentions are focused on that mysterious man in the doorway. Before I know any better I wrote several paragraphs about him, what he looks like, how he makes her feel. It was honestly and truly like I was in a trance. I wish that doesn’t sound as crazy as it does, but its the truth.

And that ladies and gentlemen is when I decided that I need to stop fighting myself. I need to write what always interested me, even from a young age. Ghosts, magic, witches, faeries, folklore you name it, if its weird and “out there” it has been an interest of mine ever since I can remember.  I love watching shows about ghosts, about the mysterious and unknown.  I love it even more when I get so scared I need to sleep with a light on and basically on top of Sparky for fear of something getting me.

When I get bored waiting at a doctor’s office (and with two young kids it seems like we are always gracing some MD’s door) I imagine the people coming in have some paranormal anomaly that they are here to get corrected. That that one door that the nurses are always coming out of, but no patient goes through, is actually a door to the other side. It may just look like a supply closet to us, but what do we know?

I know, I know, I have way too much time on my hands.

There were times when I was working on my NaNo novel and on the one I was just working on when I thought “something needs to happen, something weird, something dark.” Yeah, well, it happened.

It’s like my subconscious got tired of waiting for me to come around and stole my story. You heard me, my mind hijacked my story. There I was writing a happy little contemporary romance and all of a sudden there is a mysterious man making bright blue eyes at my heroine.

When I told Sparky about this revelation he just laughed and you know what he said??? He said – are you ready for this? He said “It’s. About. Time.” He then went on to list all paranormal things that I love, from tv shows, movies, to books and even going on our own ghost hunts to Gettysburg and Bethlehem, PA.

Well, gee, hun, if you were aware of this, when were you going to let me in on this little secret?

Anyways. So that’s that. I’m still doing romance, because, hey, even paranormals need a little lovin’ but I’m just adding a little twist to it, at least for this novel. An exciting and dark twist. I think I’m going to like it.

Have characters you never thought about appear in your story and steal it? Or have minor characters suddenly turn into major players and demand their time in the spotlight?  Did you try to fight it or did you just resign yourself to the fact that a bunch of fictional characters that you made up know more about writing a good story than you do?

 

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About Karen DeLabar

A writer who divides her time between her family and her computer while sparing some time to her other loves of theatre, books and scotch.
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22 Responses to Help! A Fictional Character Stole My Story

  1. Savana Quinn says:

    This happens to me all the time. For my NaNo novel, i had a nice little story about a married couple planned out. They had some tension, but he marriage was not supposed to be the focal point of the story. Imagine my surprise when, a few chapters in, the main character leaves her husband. The rest of the story turned into a romance, focusing on the MC and her husband’s quest to realize that they really were meant to be together. Oops!

    I find out that, no matter how much I plan, when I sit down to write, the characters have a ind of their own. Which isn’t always a bad thing. 🙂

    Pookie is excited now, too. He is not a romance person, but loved the Nora Roberts books that had the paranormal overtones. Since she isn’t really doing many of them anymore, he is looking forward to you writing, editing, and giving him something good to read. (No pressure.) 🙂

    Beta reader, perhaps?

    • Kaye Peters says:

      He’s hired!

      I don’t know why I even fought it. The undertones were always there, I just wanted to do a simple little story. I should know better that nothing is simple with me!

    • I love Nora Roberts’ paranormal romances, but I only found two trilogies. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye over here for some new ones 🙂

  2. Gwen says:

    I have tried to map out a story and then sit down and write following the obvious path. I am bad at it…my mind changes directions often. This time, where ever the story leads me is where the story is going. 🙂

    • Kaye Peters says:

      See, that’s my problem too, which shouldn’t be a surprise because me and decisions don’t go well together. I change my mind too often that I should know better and just let go and have fun, right?

      Isn’t what this writing thing is all about? Discovering new ways of seeing things, finding exciting places and people, even if they are just fictional – you just can’t plan things like that sometimes!

  3. Patricia says:

    Yes. It happens to me a lot. The best stories grow when you give in and follow the surprises. These “happening” people know what they are doing.

    • Kaye Peters says:

      I agree. The best stories do come out of those little surprises that pop up and take the story away.

      I have to say, I’m writing it and I’m anxious to see where it goes!

  4. Hilary Clark says:

    It’s said “write what you know”. If you “know” paranormal because of your fascination with it and the fact that your imagination leans that way, then write it! I bet it makes for a fantastic book because your love for things bizarre and unexplained will come through on every page. Good luck and congratulations on letting your paranormal muse have her way. 🙂

    • Kaye Peters says:

      I think what always kept me from trying paranormal is the creating of other worlds. Even if these paranormal people walk in our world they have their own customs and traditions that shape who they are. I thought that that aspect of developing the story would be most difficult and although I just started down this path I have to say I was wrong.

      I feel the most creative coming up with the different powers, what they mean, and the people that use them. What customs and spells and chants they use to establish their histories is amazing to me.

      However, the I think the best part is no matter how crazy something may sound to us, in these paranormal stories, it can work. I love all the options that are coming along with this road. 🙂

      Thanks for the support!

  5. Cathy says:

    Well, I am not a writer, but I am a reader. I love to read stories with paranormal happenings in them. I am excited to read your book.

    • Kaye Peters says:

      Thanks Cathy! I hope I do you justice! I love them, too and it just makes sense that I at least try it. You should always try new things, right?

  6. 2blu2btru says:

    OH, YES. I started a NaNo novel about a woman anticipating her ten year class reunion. I had a fun, slightly ditsy, newlywed best friend in mind for her, one of the two first names variety. She came in assertive, of a superior intellect, and very pregnant. I tried to make that pregnancy go away, but it just wouldn’t. Hmph.

    My characters are bossy. They change their names, occupations, and family background the minute I get them dressed, as if they are all five year old children insisting they can dress themselves. But the misbehaving ones are usually the best ones!

    • Kaye Peters says:

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with unruly characters! And you’re absolutely right, its the ones that give you the most trouble that are the most fun. 🙂

  7. Yes! This bugs me a lot! It’s almost like I need a CSI to come in and see who broke into my brain! When I go through moments like this, I don’t erase it, because I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and that this little piece is supposed to be there, it needs to be there, (though I have no idea why).

    Good luck with your piece! 🙂

    • Kaye Peters says:

      Thanks for the luck!

      It was very weird at first, I couldn’t stop focusing on this new character. I even got up from my “desk” and walked around for a little bit. I looked over notes that I had written about the chapter I was working on and yet when I sat back down, there he was flashing neon blue eyes at me. I chuckled and thought “ok, guess I’m writing a paranormal romance. Back to the beginning!”

  8. Lisa says:

    Don’t fight it. That’s awesome when the character just speaks and the words rattle onto the screen with supernatural alacrity. By the way, I love all things supernatural too. My Young Adult novel (that is hopefully being read and admired by contest judges as we speak) is called GIVING UP THE GHOSTS. I would completely dive into a quality supernatural romance. Write on, and let you characters guide you!

    • Kaye Peters says:

      Giving them the reigns is kind of unnerving, but very exciting at the same time. Its time I let go and have fun, right?

  9. Kaye Peters says:

    Wow. I have to say thank you for all your comments and support. Savana and I are lucky to have great people who read our posts and support us through this writing journey.

    Thank you again for all your comments!

  10. I planned out my current WIP and now feel like I didn’t do any planning at all. They all just took off on their own, leaving me running to keep up. Now, at 50k+ in, they’re looking to me for guidance. I’m like, WTF? You guys insisted on running the show and NOW you want me to take over?

    Very much like five year old children, insofar as I know anything about them, being single and childless an’ all… 🙂

    • Kaye Peters says:

      My sentiments exactly – what do these characters think of us that they can just run with the story and then come back to us whenever they’re ready! Lol.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Pingback: Time to Celebrate! « Woman Wielding Words

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