“I didn’t kill him off; I found him dead,” said Jerry B. Jenkins when readers asked why he let their favorite characters die.
In his interview with Writer’s Digest, Jenkins admits to being surprised, delighted, scared, disappointed and saddened by his characters’ actions.
“I can’t write this” was Sue Monk Kidd’s first thought when she came up against Nelle, one of her characters in The Mermaid Chair, cutting off her finger with a meat cleaver.
Kidd told writers in a lecture at Furman University that she revisited the scene several times before letting Nelle have her way.
“This (a character taking on a disposition of their own) happens more often than you think for writers – especially those who don’t outline. Sometimes it really is outside of what you originally plan,” said author C.J. Darlington.
If these well-known writers can’t make their character behave, where’d I get the idea I could control family, friends, drivers, employees and editors?
Not that I’m diminishing their characters’ realism; however, living, breathing human beings seem a bit more trying these days.
For instance, I can’t make the bank stop harassing us about a $15 service charge, which is now an overdraft fee, on our closed-for-more-than-a-year money market account.
I can’t make the road raging bus driver show consideration for our right-of-way when we’re driving our golf cart, although I did turn him into his supervisor.
I can’t force the computer technician to speed up repairs on my husband’s laptop.
Neither can I convince editors to respond in eight weeks, eight months, probably not eight years, but I’ll get back with you on that one.
Most days I can’t even make myself straighten up and act right.
I know one thing for sure, there’s only one person I should be managing and it’s not you.
How do you feel about this blog post? I know, it’s a bit disconserting to be out of control, isn’t it?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I’m powerless over others. That’s a good thing since I don’t know what God has in mind for someone else’s life. As for book characters, I’m sticking with nonfiction writing until I get a grip on my control issues.