Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When Characters Take Control

Sooner or Later It Happens

So, you create the characters for your novel. You give them personalities. You invent their physical descriptions. You decide what they wear, how they talk, and how they think. They are your Adams and Eves in the garden.

Wonderful, you say to yourself. Now they shall do whatever I want them to do in my plot. They are under my command, ready to bend to my will, ever ready to do exactly what I need them to do in order to push the story along.

And then, sooner or later, one of them in complete defiance of your expectations, plucks the forbidden fruit from the tree.

Your character has a will of his/her own.

It happens every time a write creates a fully developed character with principles, beliefs, and personality traits.  The character starts to drive the story instead of the other way around.

My main character, Jamus, is a person of high moral standards and an even higher expectation of himself. Until he confronts and accepts his "oppositional ego" in the Way of Mirrors he does not have the ability to intentionally harm another person.

The, world of Turan, however, does not easily suffer naive innocents who refuse to fight at all costs. Those who meekly surrender can be easily swept up into the dictatorships of men like Sagari and Prince Gareth. Those adversaries and the immoral world they represent are the human forces Jamus confronts over and over. It would be easy, with all his Magic, for him to become one of "them," ready to defeat opposition with a simple wave of his hand.

But his inner core of integrity denies him the easy way out again and again. He is a man conflicted by how easily power corrupts and constantly hones his own Will against it.  Ultimately, while the Magick constantly makes demands on him, trying to compel him to embrace his power, he refuses to fall into its Spell.

Jamus has become his own person, and even I , as his author, cannot change him. The forces of Darkness swirling around him resort to deceit and treachery trying to have their way. Jamus will have none of it. To him, honesty and truth are cherished values. He is a man forced to travel pathways he would much rather avoid, and yet he refuses to surrender to their shadows.

No matter where I may want my story to go, I must always remember Jamus will always have his say.

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