When I first started writing, characters were all very cut and dry. They were reflections of people I knew; my friends, sometimes my family members– mirrored images that were warped just enough to make them independent of their source, but all in all, pretty simple.
Lately, I have no idea what the hell happened to the way I make characters.
The protagonist of my upcoming book, Night, is a perfect example of that. His name is Cole; he’s a Seer who can See the futures of everyone except himself and people who are very close to him. As a result of that, he’s plagued by guilt at his inability to save anyone who he really cares about from the events of the future, a point made more frustrating by the fact that he can help complete strangers. Except for his relationship with the other protagonist, Luke, he’s isolated and resentful. The people he interacts with are held at a distance, never allowed to become something serious. He’s lost his family and blames himself for it, and only stays sane by keeping every minute of every day packed to the brim with anything and everything. He also wants Luke more than anything in the world, but is so sure he can’t have him that he drowns his desire in any man he can find.
Basically, his life is a complete mess, and he knows it. He also is in no way what I had planned when I started this story.
Characters obviously should be complex, but Cole went in directions I definitely wasn’t prepared for. Up till him, my characters had all been based around things I was pretty familiar with. All encompassing, soul-crushing guilt? Not something I’ve had much experience with. Losing myself in countless men? Again, not me. So to have a character launch himself full force into places like that… it just was different from anything I’ve ever done before. Same with his counterpart, Luke. And for that matter, just about all of the biggest characters in this story. But I can’t help but think that things like this runaway-style of character development are the reason why I finally managed to finish a novel– not to mention one I can actually be proud of.
Have you ever had something creative run away from you? Did you like where it ended up?