An author doesn’t only listen to his or her characters while writing a novel. We also delve into the deepest, darkest depths of the new minds that stand before us, seeing them for who they really are, whether it be friend or foe. There are no templates for one certain hero, heroine, or supporting character; each are as individual as you, with their own quirks and identity and each will be defined when they enter the stage. It is one of the most exciting aspects of the writing journey — however, it can also be the most frustrating.
One by one the cast will step forward. Some will easily be read as they wear their most inner thoughts and feelings on their sleeves, allowing us to pluck their personalities off with ease and write their story. Then there are those who seem willing enough, at first, to give us a glimpse of who they are, but only enough to get us started. Then when we’re in full writing swing, they will make an executive decision to stop us in our tracks while they consider whether or not they’re going to allow us into their heads.
Sooner or later they do let us in, but not without further complications. You see, more often than not, they’ll start throwing out their side of the story during the most inopportune times, such as while we’re driving or in the middle of a concert or… well, anywhere that we are unable to write it down. One of my heroes was like that and for the longest time it drove me crazy, but then I realized: that was him, in a display of one of his quirks, and because he was such a challenge he was and still is my favourite.
For an author to pass on a clear picture to you as to whose life you will be exploring, we have to be skilled enough to switch personalities on a dime, even if it means chasing them down so the novel will get written. The true fact is, those co-operators, trouble makers, and jokesters, would never hold back for long – they want their story heard just as badly as we do.