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Thread: Bossy Characters

  1. #1
    some_kinda_superstar
    Guest

    Bossy Characters

    Do you ever find that your characters start to boss you around? Have you ever started writing a story with specific intentions, but your characters refuse to cooperate?

    I have often found that characters I write take on a life of their own. They do things I don't want them to do, and take on character traits I never intended for them. Quite often a story will come out completely different to how I originally planned it, simply because one or more of the characters had a will of their own.

    So, does this happen to anyone else, or am I just crazy?

  2. #2
    stareyed_in_LA
    Guest
    That happened to me once. It involves developing my OC, "Winifred" Tyra Portman.
    These are traits that I originally came up with for my OC;
    She has dark blonde hair
    Is a poet
    Is a Taurus
    Is not a movie junkie
    Is just as quiet and reserved as my other OC, Masami Yamamura (because they were made up as the two missing Gryffindor girls in Hermiones year)

    As soon as I began writing out a character outline, WT went nutso and began becoming some one who I didn not plan to be. If she were a real person, this is a type of note she would write;

    Dear Erica (which is my real name)
    Why are you not listening to me at the moment. I just glanced at your profile that you written about me, and let me tell you this. I hate it! OH MY GOD! I am a blonde! I thought I said last week that I wanted to have black hair. I did not say blonde, I said black. And pale skin. How overrated. Why not add some colour? There are not enough black actresses and I want to make a contribution to this minority.
    This brings me to my next point. Why am I a poet? I am not a poet. I am an actress. I need to be in the spotlight. Poets are rarely in the spotlight. Why don't you make Masami a poet. Or Jim. Jim is bloody emo anyway.
    And "quiet and reserved". Gimme a break. I was never "quiet and reserved" and never will be! I am loud and I tend to wear my beliefs on my sleeve. I am dramatic, probably the most dramatic girl in my year.
    Now, you better change these things, PRONTO, or else!
    Have a nice day!
    Love,
    Tyra


    By the way, that note isn't flame. Superstar, you are pratically not alone when it comes to characters revolting against you.
    All fan fic writers, please take this piece of advice to heart. If you plan an OC in one way, and they want to be completely diffrent from what you wanted them to be, you should be prepared to change your character to the way that they wanted to be.

    Right now, I am changing certain aspects of my OC, though it will be a while before I can make her more believe able.

  3. #3
    Bryant
    Guest
    Actually, it's funny you mentioned it because with a OC that I am writing right now, I'm having that same issue. At first the character was supposed to be shy and quiet, but now, she's definitely an extrovert and adds some comical relief to the story. Before she was a lot more mysterious and taciturn, but that has turned completelyi n the opposite direction. It's funny how it works, isn't it?

  4. #4
    Schmerg_The_Impaler
    Guest
    Do you ever find that your characters start to boss you around? Have you ever started writing a story with specific intentions, but your characters refuse to cooperate?

    I have often found that characters I write take on a life of their own. They do things I don't want them to do, and take on character traits I never intended for them. Quite often a story will come out completely different to how I originally planned it, simply because one or more of the characters had a will of their own.

    So, does this happen to anyone else, or am I just crazy?
    Yes, I know exactly what you mean! I had a character named Jordan, Harry's son in a next-gen story. Lovely boy, really. His twin sister was very outgoing and excitable, so I made Jordan more quiet and bookish, the less dominant twin. He was a bit of a wimp, I guess-- his sister would drag him into mischief, although he was very goody-goody and didn't like getting in trouble. But he was a nice kid.

    But when I actually started writing his story (as opposed to roleplaying him), he changed drastically. I was thinking of how a boy who grew up as Harry Potter's son might feel slightly inferior, and after that, he morphed into a totally different person. The first thing to go was the glasses, and then his personality changed (this has nothing to do with the glasses, though.) The new Jordan is moody, not in an angsty!Harry kind of way, but quietly so. He's a very repressed and isolated person who doesn't often share his emotions, and who speaks in a low, flat voice-- this was an evolution from the quiet and shy kid he was before, as the new Jordan is much more inwardly focused rather than simply shy-- but once in a blue moon, he'll just explode, he can't take it anymore, and he's just plain scary when that happens. He is a complete perfectionist, extremely intelligent, and works extraordinarily hard in everything he does, but he's not just the nerdy little boy he was before. He's working to achieve the image of someone who's extremely smart and responsible, make a name for himself that differentiates him from his father. However, although he really is brilliant, his true love is music, something that not many people know, and he is NOT wimpy anymore. He's quite strong-willed, and a very dignified and powerful presence. I love Jordan, and although he sounds like an emo here, he really isn't. He's a marvellously complex, multi-layered and slightly dark character (I won't give away the story to tell you something shocking he did) who is a joy to write and interesting to watch evolving.

  5. #5
    First Year Ravenclaw
    Setting Snakes on Hapless Relatives

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    25
    Do you ever find that your characters start to boss you around?
    Yes! Now I know that there are other crazy people like me out there! I used to always have that problem, but it's gotten easier to deal with now that I know the characters better. As for OC's? They can be pretty tricky...

    Have you ever started writing a story with specific intentions, but your characters refuse to cooperate?
    Yes, but it's quite easy for me to think up another circumstance that works out in the plot.

  6. #6
    Just Tink
    Guest
    I think everybody has a character like this. My character Cassandra in one of my stories went through this. She was supposed to be naive and cute and shy and have all of the fandom feeling sorry for her. Instead, she's snobby and a little rude and stands up for herself now and again, making reviewers write 'she's so dense!' instead 'poor little girl, I wish she wasn't so depressing!'

    When a character does this, I just go with the flow. Trying to keep them the way you want them only leads to disaster and (possibly) tears.

  7. #7
    Sixth Year Slytherin
    Snape's Not Evil?

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Yorkshire
    Posts
    394
    Welcome to the world of the writer.

    Characters have a moral obligation to boss you around. That's when you know you are doing a good job as an author.

    I have suffered at the hands of Severus, Harry and Maeve. You start off at one point but in the writing the characters take over. This is, generally speaking, a good thing if you have a good handle on your plot and your characters. However, sometimes the author has to assert their authority.

    Let your characters speak, but if they threaten to go in a direction that will impinge upon your plot, you need to reign them in.

    ALL of your characters should speak to you in no uncertain terms... be it louldy or in hushed whispers... but your are their creator and author. They will listen to you if you talk loudly.

    Anyone had a character that has refused to listen upon an ultimatum?
    Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

    Alexander Pope

  8. #8
    khrys
    Guest
    You have hit my troublesome nail on the head, Jan.

    I have a character who is completely unwilling to listen to me. She has been stealing potions from St. Mungo's when she needs to be poisoning people. She refuses to Apparate to the correct location. Last time she Apparated herself into the trunk of the Whomping Willow. How am I supposed to explain that? It's always Harry Potter. She blames him for everything. I keep telling her that, after a while, that excuse isn't going to fly. People are going to think that she is the most inept super villain on the planet. Here she is, the driving force behind Lord Voldemort. His right hand man, erm, girl, so to speak. She's completely upending my plot. How will anyone ever take Nagini seriously if all she does is prank people and look like she's on 'Worlds Funniest Super Villain Scew Ups'?

    I have issued ultimatums, I have cried, I have hit the delete button more times than I would care to admit. She's driving me batty. She's most definitely NOT an 'Evil Most Insidious' right now. My original plot was for her to mess up along the way, throwing red herrings as to her true, um, victim. However, things are not going well at all. She's doing my bidding, sure, but looking completely ridiculous while doing it. Who Apparates into the trunk of a tree? And, blaming Harry, when he wasn't even her intended target, is getting old.

    I have about ten more chapters for her to cause mayhem before she has to settle down and do some serious damage. The only probelm is that I don't think, by the end of those ten chapters, that anyone will view her as a threat.

    Now, that could be good for me in a few ways. It would be a total shock to all those involved when she does reveal herself. No one will be after her, like they were after Voldemort. She will have pretty free reign to do whatever she wants...

    On the other hand, her not being viewed as a threat will undo all the careful planning I have done. If nobody views her as a threat, how will Neville ever know to stumble upon her secret lair? How will she wax poetic about her many botched attempts on Harry and his "beloved followers"?

    I am at a serious loss right now. I guess I could go back and scrap the last two chapters entirely and try to write her more carefully, allowing her only minimal freedoms, but she has developed such an arrogant attitude that I'm not sure scrapping everything would help at this point. Ruddy witch.

    Any help, or advice would be much appreciated!!

    Thanks!

    Khrys

  9. #9
    Sixth Year Slytherin
    Snape's Not Evil?

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Yorkshire
    Posts
    394
    I always find that if you have a character unwilling to listen to you, then bringing in a character they they have no option but to listen to is always a good idea.

    Bring in a character that sees her blaming Harry, can insinuate the jadeness of this old trick, and is also a little in awe/fear of her.

    Your challenge is to work in the aspect that your character HAS to listen to the new character.

    This is how good OCs are born!

    If your character is playing you up, your job is to make sure they have a character that they cannot play up to.
    Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

    Alexander Pope

  10. #10
    khrys
    Guest
    Hmmm. That's a great idea, Jan. Thanks!

    I will have to alter my plot, then, because Nagini is/has been working alone. Nobody knows about her "condition" or the way she controlled Voldemort. Drats. Maybe I can come up with someone from her past... Someone who knew what her parents did to her, but has remained in the background allowing her to run her own life...

    I shall sit here and stare at the screen until a plot bunny strikes me.

    Thanks again for the great advice!

    Khrys

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