Out of Control Secondary Characters

So the past few weeks I’ve had a time in hell with my current WIP. I’d been going so strong with this book, writing almost 40k in a little over a month. (And for me, that’s a crazy amount. I’m so not a prolific writer, no matter how badly I want to be one. LOL.) With the way I was knocking this story out, I believed I’d have the first draft done in less than six weeks. Yay!

Then I hit Chapter 8 and everything fell apart. I couldn’t figure out why the storyline was no longer working, why nothing no longer felt right, why I’d lost the drive to write. So I avoided the story. I did open it up over the last few weeks, only to stare at the pages, get frustrated because I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong, and close it again.

Yesterday, I finally figured it out. You see, I have this secondary character named Brody in the story. He’s an extreme fighter, who really dominates my attention when he walks onto the page. The problem is he is also dominating the story. I had it in my head the issue was with my heroine or hero, so I focused on them. They weren’t the problem. Brody was, and then, of course, my hero’s reaction to Brody wasn’t ringing true because Brody was out of control.

I had to take the control back. I’m a pantser to the core. I believe in letting the characters do what they will and see where things lead. For the most part, this mind frame works for me, although, every once in awhile I do hit a snag. Like now.

I had to have a little talk with Brody about his behavior. He fought me at first, it’s just his nature, but he did finally relent after I promised him he would get his own story—just not this one. This is Tommy’s story and Brody needed to suck it up and let Tommy have center stage.

So after cutting almost 1500 words yesterday (I hate cutting words!) I feel like the story is back on the right track. I also woke up this morning ready to write. This makes me happy.

Have you ever had a secondary character try to control the story?


1 comment:

Tina Beckett said...

I've definitely had secondary characters take over...and yep, most of the time I had to promise him his own story.

But I have to admit, Brody is one intriguing character!