Go With The Flow

The other day, two of my characters decided to um, get busy with each other.

I’m a romance author. Characters tend to get busy (*wink, wink*) in romance novels. But here’s the thing. I hadn’t planned for this to happen in the scene I was writing. I hadn’t really wanted it to happen in this particular scene. A little later on, yes. But not now. And yet I looked up from my typing and the heroine was sitting in the hero’s lap playing tonsil hockey.

I realized that I had a choice. I could force the characters apart, send them each to their respective corners, as it were, and bend them to my will. Or I could go with the flow.

I decided to just go with it. The result was a scene that was incredibly easy to write. Everything just fell into place (pardon the pun). More, I realized that what had happened made sense for the story, more sense than what I had planned. Their love scene spun out organically from the situation, which is important and sometimes a little difficult to pull off.

What happened? The characters took over. They turned the tables and made me do what they wanted to do. As a result, they came alive.

It’s not always convenient when the characters take over. The fact that the scene is different than I’d intended screws up my story outline. And because it’s not convenient, it’s very tempting for the author to push the characters back where we want them to go. Lord knows I’ve fallen into that trap. The result is stilted dialog and fake action.

I don’t know if this scene will stay in the book. I’m sure it will need to be rewritten and edited in the second draft. But I’m glad that I’ve matured enough as an author to recognize what was happening. I’m glad I went with the flow of the story, despite my intentions.

I hope that at some point I’ll be mature enough as a human being to treat other humans the same way that I treat my characters. I hope that eventually I’ll learn not to try to push people into boxes. I hope I won’t try to make other people follow my outline. I hope I can let them be who they are, the same way I’m learning to let my characters be who they are.

It’s just a lot easier to do in fiction.


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