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Thursday, September 2, 2010

More Author Insight: Bookish Battles

What is the worst fight you've ever had with a character?

"I tried my damnedest to keep a character from showing up until Book Two. He wouldn’t have it. He was very right to stick to his guns though! " - Leah Clifford, author of A Touch Mortal.

I tried to break up a character from her true love for the longest time and she kept getting back together with him. Finally, I just said, 'Girl, I am in charge and that boy is not yours right now!'" - Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds.

"We don’t really fight. They just give me the silent treatment which is much worse. I hate when they won’t talk to me or figure out what they should do next to move the story along." - Jen Nadol, author of The Mark.

"I don't have fights with my characters. Because I'd always lose." - Jon Skovron, author of Struts & Frets.

"I had a character who went from a nineteen-year-old university student to a fourteen-year-old high school freshman from one draft to the next. I had to take an out-on-her-own college girl and shrink her into the frame (of mind and body) of her younger self. She didn’t go willingly. And let me know about it—in some very colorful language, of which I spared my reader." - Wendy Delsol, author of Stork. 

"Lenah and I have gotten into some good rows. Sometimes she just feels compelled to make the WORST choices. But I think you have to let your characters motivations decide the story, you can't force plot on them, let them force plot on you." - Rebecca Maizel, author of Infinite Days.

"I try not to fight with them too much. It is their story after all. When I get in the zone, my characters naturally take the lead and (usually) they don’t steer me wrong. Actually, I find that if I question them too much, they clam up. That’s the worst! Then it’s not so much a fight as it is me begging for forgiveness." - Kelly Creagh, author of Nevermore.

 "It was probably with Bianca in The DUFF. It wasn't so much a fight, though, as a confusion. She ended up being a very different - and ultimately stronger - character than I'd expected, which is great! But it also seriously changed some aspects of my plot, which made figuring out how the story went difficult. I'm happy with how it turned out, but oh boy, getting passed that was hard." - Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF.

"Dr. Elisha Kane was supposed to have a rather small role in We Hear the Dead. But once he made his entrance, he stole every scene, refused to get off stage, and wrested control of the second half of the novel out of my hands." - Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead.

"I don't know that we fight so much as they give me the silent treatment. Then I beguile the characters back into speaking to me by placing Junior Mints next to the computer as enticement." - Ally Condie, author of Matched.

"My characters are the passive-aggressive type. They don’t fight, they withhold affection. I tried to change the name of one of my characters once, and she wouldn’t do or say a single thing in the story till I changed it back. I’m just their typing slave." - Phoebe Kitanidis, author of Whisper.

"I've never fought with a character, because my characters aren't real, independent people. This isn't to say that I don't share in their experiences - when it comes time to end my series, I'm pretty sure I'll cry a river - but I don't think of them as entities separate from myself. As an author, I like to think of myself as a ringmaster rather than an avatar." - Lia Habel, author of Dearly, Departed.

"We fight with our characters all the time because they don't listen to us anymore. But all of my best fights are with Ridley. She loves to be bad!" - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"When I wrote the first draft of Losing Faith, Tessa Lockbaum showed up out of nowhere – she wasn’t in the outline or anywhere in my head at that point. I decided it couldn’t hurt to give her a bit part. Well, you’ll have to read the story to see how well that worked out. She tries to take over every scene that she’s in!" - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

"Let me just excerpt my Twitter stream here: 
April 13: This is dumb, but I've got these characters. I need to get them down this mountain. And they won't go. 

April 14: Okay. Today I AM going to find a way to get the characters from A to B. Even if that way is an avalanche.

April 16: I am STUCK. STUCK, STUCK, STUCK. I don't know what made me think I could write, but I was deluding myself.

April 19: Characters still on mountain. I think I'll just leave them up there to die.

April 21: 'So they all stayed by the hot spring for while, then winter came and they died. The end.'" - Erin Bow, author of Plain Kate.


"I don't exactly fight with characters, but they sometimes hold out on me. Characters like Colt Morrissey are very self-protective. I had to pry the ending of The Secret Year out of him, figure out where he was emotionally at the end of the story." - Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.


Come back Tuesday to find out which of our authors wait for inspiration and which ones create it!
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  1. Ha, Erin's response is my favorite! It made me giggle. I'll have to keep an eye on her Twitter account for more gems, hehe.

    Also, Lia Habel is like me! That's how I feel, in a sense, when I write.

  2. Silent treatment - lol