01 July 2013

Jordan Takes Over: Forcing Your Characters

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. I apologize in advance...**

First of all, I've gotta slap some people around. Not a single one of you signed up for the Muse Mondays blog hop. Pfft. Whatever. We don't need you bitches. But in case you have no freaking clue what I'm talking about, click here! It's pretty flexible, I mean just pick any Monday you want. We'll probably get stricter if MORE PEOPLE JOIN.

Anyway, we've been having some issues. And as usual, I'm the one to blame. Sure, blame the muse when you can't write. Take the easy way out. Well, ok. Chapter 12 is such a bitch. Especially because it’s actually Chapter 11. But that’s beside the point!

Ok, let me lay out the scene for you. I go to this party and there’s some girls there. It’s really boring, but somehow I end up talking to this chick Madison, and she totally wants to jump me. Why? Because I’m gorgeous, duh. No, really, it may or may not be to get revenge on this girl who I had a thing with at some point in ancient history and who pissed Madison off for whatever reason. (You don’t find out because I didn’t. Yay first person!) And so we almost do it. Almost?! you're probably wondering—I’ll get to it…

Anyway, the almighty writer doesn’t understand why this chapter is so hard to write. But guess what? I do!

Here’s the problem: I DON’T LIKE GIRLS. Well, maybe sometimes. I guess that’s why it’s confusing. But still, it’s out of character because I swore off girls in the very first sentence of the book. So that brings me to a bigger question—are you forcing your characters? Are you making them do something that they wouldn’t normally do?

So if you try to force your characters—like into a girl’s…OH SHE WON’T LET ME WRITE IT. PG-13 SHE SAYS. Wait, does that mean I only get one f-bomb? When did this rule start?!

What was I saying?! Oh yeah, so if you think you’re in control of your story (is that what you think?), you might try to shove your characters into places where they don’t fit. I mean figuratively! Geez.

Like, ok! An example. Let’s say your character’s really shy, and they see somebody getting picked on, and they just randomly stand up to the bully. Does it seem realistic? Or are you forcing your character to do something they would never actually do just for the sake of the story?

Hold on—What? Stop whispering in my ear, woman! Ok, so if your character overcoming something is part of the plot—like they need to get over their shyness in order to grow, then that’s ok. You just need a reason for it. And the character needs to be aware of how out of character it is for them (whoa). And you need a lot of aftermath and contemplation and all that stuff.

So if you don’t have a good reason for it, then WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IT?

I guess what I’m saying is let your characters be themselves. It’s gonna be obvious if they’re doing something weird. So if you need that moment in the story, you need a reason for it. The whole me and Madison thing is super complicated. But there’s a reason for it happening, and that leads to something happening after that’s even more important. I don’t wanna give anything away…*ahem.* Oh, who am I kidding? I didn’t get laid that night. By anyone. So lame.

But to make it a little clearer—I end up finding Madison attractive because she’s basically the girl version of me and I’m in love with myself (I could be a shrink, I swear). She had a vibe that was different from other girls. Plus I’m just a sucker for attention. So there’s your reasoning for why we start going at it. For a few reasons (that I’m not going to tell you, la la la la la la), it doesn’t happen. BUT. It does put me in a mindset to make a few impulsive decisions that lead to one thing and that leads to another and another and—you get it? The things that happen because of this out-of-character moment end up being HUGE for the overall story. So, there’s reasoning and there’s aftermath.

Those two things are essential if you’re forcing your characters to do something they wouldn’t normally do. Otherwise you’re just pushing them around. They’re not gonna seem like a real person if they’re just doing random shit all the time. You need some consistency, people! Don’t bully your characters. We can bite back. And I’m not gentle.

I guess that’s it. Well. Fuck. Good day!



  1. haha. This is a really interesting way to do a blog post. I like it! :)

    And its so true. The characters have to stay true to themselves. Readers are too smart for that.

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      It's so important to have characters seem like real people. Sure, sometimes you might do something that is out of character, but there's usually a reason for it.

  2. Awesome :)

    Yeah, forcing your characters is no good. Makes everything seem...well, forced.

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

    1. Exactly. Having your characters just do whatever you want won't seem real. It has to fit with their personalities.