Off The Page And Into My Heart
At a recent RWASD monthly meeting, Maya Banks talked about how she controls her characters and doesn’t wait for them to “speak” to her. Some authors believe in muses or characters controlling the story, while others think they need to take charge.
I’m more of the second persuasion. I feel I need to guide my characters and keep them on a short leash if the story’s going to head in the right direction. So imagine my surprise when I was writing Slayer’s Kiss and a brand new, unplanned character jumped off the page and grabbed me by the heart.
This is what happened: (And I’ll try to avoid spoilers. Oh, never mind. Consider yourself SPOILED!) Kara was in a scene in the middle of the book where she was witnessing behavior by a female of her species that was supposed to upset her. Specifically, a lady of the clan was mistreating a sex slave in her harem. The broken-hearted warrior was just a prop—on his knees in the dirt, naked and ashamed, with the last embers of his pride dying in his eyes. Kara was suppose see how horrible the woman was and come away thinking, I don’t want to end up like that.
And then…Kara (and I) accidentally locked eyes with the dejected warrior—and named him Jaxon—and that was it. We were busting him out of there. The hero was pissed, but he had to get over it. That very night, Kara adopted Jaxon into her own “harem,” and they became the best of friends. He’s such an integral part of her life now.
Maybe, despite my best attempts to control them, the characters took on lives of their own in Slayer’s Kiss—but I’m so glad they did. Last Friday, I submitted book two in The Shadow Slayers series to my editor at Samhain, and you know what that means? I get to start on book three now—a novella! This is Jaxon’s story and I’m so excited to give him his time to shine. After what he’s been through, he deserves it. 😉
What do you think? As a writer, do your characters ever surprise you? As a reader, do you mind when secondary characters worm their way into the heart of the story?