WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHARACTER CHANGES YOUR PLANS
As some of you may know I have been working hard on the second book on my Demi-God Daughters series, GODDESS BY CHANCE. From the inception of this book I devised a great female lead who has a past that will make the reader root for her. I also came up with a villain who is pretty despicable. The hero of this story was supposed to be Hephaestus, the Greek God of Blacksmiths. If you know anything about Greek mythology then you know that Hephaestus has had a pretty bad go of it. His father Zeus cast him from Olympus as a baby and his wife Aphrodite routinely cheated on him. So I felt that if there was another Greek god that deserved real love, then Hephaestus was it. But even the best laid plans fall apart.
I'd written about fourteen chapters into GODDESS BY CHANCE when it became all too apparent that something was wrong. My heroine, Arienne had better chemistry with the villain than she did with her leading man Hephaestus. I couldn't believe it. At first I was in denial. No way am I going to have my heroine with this pretty despicable villain. Besides, what about poor Hephaestus. So I went around and around in my head about it. I vented on Twitter. I received suggestions from some of my followers. I put the story down and mulled over things, but I was only prolonging the inevitable. In my heart of hearts I knew that I had no choice. I was going to have to change the story and start over.
So with many apologies I said goodbye to Hephaestus and promised him a book later. Then I ripped out all fourteen chapters from my journal and prepared to start over. In the trash went my flashcards with information and plot points about the original story. Out came fresh flash cards for me to jot down some ideas about my villain and how I was going to redeem him and have him and Arienne fall for each other. Despite the fact that starting completely over was going to mess with the timetable I'd set for myself to finish this story, I found myself getting excited. I've never written anything with such a complicated male lead before. A male lead that is out to get the heroine and not for romantic reasons. But it is a challenge I'm happy about.
At present I'm working on Chapter 4 of GODDESS BY CHANCE. I'm excited every time I pick up my journal and start to work on this story. Having to start over brought some things into perspective for me. Most important of all was the power every character has. Though I had a different destiny in mind for my heroine, she soon made it evident to me that she had other plans in mind. There are some who say that when you write that is the only place where you are in total control. I've discovered that is not true.
Regardless of the fact that you are the writer, every character has their own voice. As you create a story your characters will start to speak to you. Though sometimes what they say will be in line with your plans, sometimes your characters will change your plans. It is up to you listen to them. Though you may balk at first like I did, in the end you will feel more satisfied if you listen. Many times the suggestions your characters impart will make the story better than what your original vision for the story ever was.
So what do you do when your character changes your plans? Simple. You go with it. You listen to your characters and revise the story to their suggestions. If you listen to your character you'll be happy you did and so will they.