Have you ever experienced a shock of when something you created started talking on its own, and even getting an attitude? I am not just talking about kids here, although it is a hoot to watch my two-year old niece give commands to her parents and the family dog. I am talking about a fictional character that exists only on your laptop’s harddrive!
Forgive me if this is old news to you, but as I am nearing the end of my first novel’s draft, weird stuff is starting to happen. I had a plot, a chapter outline and character bios and naively thought that I knew where this was headed. The first paranormal thing happened when one of the supporting characters opened his mouth for the first time. He is one of the bodyguards, which were originally intended to lurk in the shadows and were meant to be cookie-cutter identical and dumb (for comedic purposes). As soon as he opened his mouth, though, things changed.
“What’s my name?” he asked.
“You don’t have a name,” I said, “You are a support character. You only have one line.”
“But my partner will be talking to me, so like what, he doesn’t know my name?”
“Fine!” I rolled my eyes, “How about Serge? Is Serge okay?”
“Okay,” he said. Then five minutes later he piped up again, this time with a funny idea for a dialogue. I liked it, so I wrote it down.
“Well,” he said, “Kinda looks like I have a personality now, donnit?”
“Yes,” I said, “You are a dumbass!”
“He sure is!” said the second bodyguard.
“Who the hell gave you permission to speak?” I asked him.
“Well, someone has to be a mastermind of this here unit?”
I was forced to agree. He demanded a name and didn’t like any of my suggestions until we settled on Kurt. Kurt and Serge then proceeded to argue with each other, which I definitely did not expect. It was funny, though, so I just did my best trying to write it all down.
The paranormal did not stop there. I am almost at the end (75K words, thank you very much!) and all of a sudden my protagonist threw a hissy fit.
“Wait a second,” she said, “so I am hot and blonde, but my boyfriend breaks up with me and nobody else loves me?”
“Well, that’s kind of funny, isn’t it?”
“No!” she screamed at me, “It’s not funny! It’s not even believable! Are you saying there isn’t even a male friend who is secretly in love with me?”
“Ahm…maybe in the sequel?”
“I am not waiting for the sequel!” she wailed, “This is not fair! I want someone to love me now! I just want to be lo-ah-ah-ved!”
So now I am trying to write in a male friend for her, which is really hard, as it affects her other relationships and changes her behavior in so many scenes. It makes much better sense now, so she was right.
And that’s the strangest thing of all.