I’m writing a novel. Which you might have guessed given the title of this post. Unlike some I’m not doing it to make my voice heard by the world, or to make money (which, honestly, would be unlikely) I’m doing it because my characters were screaming in my head, dying to become real. They wanted lives, they wanted adventure, and danger, maybe even romance. Well after years of demanding to be personified, my characters won. So, I’m writing a novel. It’s not at all like I expected.
I expected to sit down and know what my characters wanted to say, what adventures they wanted to go on, and who they would be attracted to. That wasn’t what happened at all. After writing the first dialogue, my protagonist leapt off the page.
“I wouldn’t say that!” she insisted, I just rolled my eyes at her.
“Am i writing this novel, or are you?” I asked, so my protagonist. Let’s call her “T” decided to show me exactly who was writing her story.
“Okay,” she said, “In this situation, what would you say?” I pointed to the dialogue I had typed on the page. “Exactly.” she said.
I realized she was right. I knew what to say in the situation because I had concocted it. But, if I was a different person, I might say something entirely different, I might even feel differently about the situation altogether. It forced me to rethink the entire scene based one what my protagonist had gone through. Her life drastically altered the conversation. Once I realized that, the new dialogue practically wrote itself. It was better, and it moved the plot along in a more organic way.
That moment made me see my characters as more than just characters. Now, they were people.