You’ve created the perfect character. His/her background is well fleshed out and the personality calls to you. Everything is going smoothly, when suddenly, out of nowhere, your character makes a move, or says something that halts your entire project. In fact, ‘What the hell?’ may have even crossed your mind.
I’m sure this happens numerous times in a writer’s life, but what happens when it’s so off-character from your intentions that you actually don’t like your character anymore? This is exactly what transpired with a character I was writing for. (non-book related) He made a move that bothered me so much it actually made me feel queasy thinking about it afterwards – hours afterwards.
The question then arises, what do I do? Normally, I’m one to go with flow of the characters. I like to let them lead me. It makes them more real and true, in my opinion. But when it’s to the point of hating your character, the threat of not wanting to continue crosses your mind. It also throws the entire project and direction intended off kilter. I ended up rewriting, but it does bring up the question of how far we, as writers, are willing to let our characters dictate the direction they want to take. Of course, it could have also just been a bad day, but it does make one think.
I believe there needs to be a middle ground, much like the actors of a play need a director behind the scene. If one person throws off the entire performance, it’s time to get rid of said actor…or in writer’s terms re-look at who that person was really meant to be, and perhaps start over.
I am glad to say, I think I made the right decision to re-write. The queasiness is gone, and my character and I? We’re friends again. ;)