Most times I love my characters. Even if they are hard to like, even if they do horrible things, even if they hurt others like hell, I could keep looking, smiling and cooing at them, and genuinely feel wretched when something bad happens to them (and that happens a lot).
But you know what? Sometimes they fully deserve going through hell. Because they do share one of my most despised character flaws: Their mood and actions change with the weather. What they keep promising me in one chapter, they gleefully ruin in the next just because they feel like it.
My inexperience with my characters’ unpredictable behaviour led to my first manuscript taking 8 years to emerge and at least as many reviews and rewrites, which saw main characters becoming pushed out of the picture by minor characters and whole storylines becoming obsolete.
With “Number 2″, my current project, I promised myself I will finally restrain them from running wild by having not only an overall structure of where the story goes, but also creating more detailed chapter previews of one page each for appx. 5-7 upcoming chapters. Problem solved …
Oh, the naiveté of it all! Again I had to learn the hard way that I stand no chance outsmarting my characters as they are always a step ahead of me. The other day, when trying to finally catch up on my writing after another (not yet totally finished) move, I could only realise in dismay, that my latest chapter preview had become an unusable mess after only 3 chapters out of 7. Because topics couldn’t be addressed as planned, because characters decided to make an entrance although they were supposed to stay on the sidelines, because one storyline is moving slower than the other.
So it is time again for another review of the overall chapter structure, which I have only done all new 3 months ago. And which, I should mention, has been conveniently lost in the move, with a documentation picture too blurry to actually reveal not only who is part of a scene but also what the scene is actually about. I guess a few too many drinks as reaction to that were in order.
But then again I maybe should just not stress out too much about it. My characters will most probably show more erratic behaviour that make whatever structure there is of no use, anyway. And I, vengeful bitch that I am, will keep retaliating with even more drama and hardship for them. Which hardships exactly I of course cannot tell, as that will definitely change in the next chapter… Hm, starts sounding like a kind of Sean Penn/Madonna relationship.