A Character Takes Over

Hi everyone, I thought I’d take a few minutes to emerge from my cave to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Oh, wait, wrong season. It’s raining and the Missoula mountainsides are a rich, velvety green. Okay, spring. That’s right…CampNaNoWriMo. Wow, so my writing hibernation was real. I’d begun to wonder, what with my exhaustion, not just because of all the hours I’m putting in to finish my novel before the month ends, but for a different reason:

My protagonist is taking me on a wild ride.

Never have I written a character who had such a desire, not to live, but to thrive and was willing to take over the story to satisfy that desire. Suddenly given life at seventeen (it’s complicated), I underestimated how much she’d fight for her happiness, especially through all the bad that befalls her. The more I tossed her way the taller she’s stood.

I'm about completion, not numbers, but "winning" is always fun.

I’m about completion, not numbers, but “winning” is always fun.

All well and good, of course, but it’s forced me continually revise the story’s course.

To make matters worse, she’s already demanding I make substantial changes to the early parts of the book. It’s as if she knows she has a limited amount of time to shine and she wants all she can get.

It isn’t as if she’s a kickass heroine. Nothing could be further from the truth, though she’s proven to be resourceful. No, it’s her inner glow more than anything. It’s her swift growth as she discovers the person she is. It’s her hunger for knowledge. It’s as if she died, gasped, and came back appreciating life more than any of us can understand.

Okay, in fairness, the dying part was closer to the truth than I intended…

She’s been a lot to handle, and early on I cursed her more than once for mucking up my outline, but then she started winning me over. She also won over another character and—insert sarcasm here—more of the outline went into the shredder. It isn’t that she’s continually happy. Not at all. It’s more like she burns with an inexhaustible desire to capture the happiness she was so long denied.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Now, I feel blessed to know her and am willing to do the work necessary to provide her more time to realize her dream. The happiness? She’s going to have to earn that on her own. That’s the price for being a character in a story. I’m at the 91% mark. Time for her to capture her dreams.

I hope everyone else is realizing their NaNo dreams!

5 Replies to “A Character Takes Over”

  1. Pingback: A Character Takes Over | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  2. Loved this. I am so glad you have such strong characters that take over and yes, demand the plot is altered and tweaked to their satisfaction. I depend on my characters appearing in all their goods and bads and in betweens, leading me through the maze, through all the twists and turns, love, sorrow, and so on. So happy writing and good luck in finishing the book.

    • Thank you, and the best to you in whatever project you’re working on. I can only plan so much before the characters must react under pressure, which becomes the maze you mention. You are exactly right.

  3. Christina you go girl! She sounds like the best kind of character. one that will learn and grow and take us on an amazing journey.

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