“But-but-but…,” I stare at the screen, “You are not following the outline.”
The character looks back at me, smirking, “You want real characters, then we get to decide our own actions.”
In Honestly, I had carefully set up a sexy encounter in the laundry room. And I waited, and I waited. Nothing happened. Eventually, Kassandra and Troy take Troy’s laundry down to his room. Whatever. I just kept typing. Suddenly, when I – the writer – have forgotten about things and Kassandra starts up the stairs again Troy stops the story.
“But…you…grrr….(sputter unintelligible things)” and then I typed.
The reason that scene is so organic is it just happened. I didn’t write it. My characters did.
Joshua Palmatier discusses the issue of the characters running off with story in a guest post on Civilian Reader. He had it much worse than my little hiccup. They didn’t change just one scene, but the whole final book of a trilogy to the point he needed to talk to his editor because the book he was writing wasn’t the book he sold them.
Important take away: “…if the characters don’t at some point take control and do unexpected things, then the book isn’t succeeding.“