When Characters Do What You Do Not Expect

There have been times when a friend has read my manuscript and told me something about my novel that even I did not know was there. It might have been, by pure accident, something clever or something deep and meaningful that I did not even realize I put into the text. This is one of the several reasons why I appreciate the art of writing.

Other things can surprise the writer of a story as well. Unforeseen plot twists, misadventures that add depth to the plot, and characters that at one point meant nothing can become crucial to the story are just a few examples of surprises that await the writer of any story.

During my first draft of the Tale of Calleleth, I wrote a one liner about a character that went something like this:

“Aeneia, a girl who sat three desks over from Custos smiled smugly at the rest of the class, most especially at the students who translated incorrectly. She was a beautiful girl two years younger than Custos but incredibly unbearable.”

Aeneia has a small speaking part thereafter, then disappeared into the netherworld of my story, to be forgotten by all, well at least everyone but me.

Elbow your way into a story

However, this was not the last of Aeneia of Calelleth. She morphed during my second draft and flourished in my third to become someone of dire importance. To be honest I was shocked, not because she was now a pivotal piece of my story, but because it was so natural to include her in the story. It was as if she was always supposed to be there.

How does this happen? How does one character who is inconsequential in the first draft become detrimental not only to book, but future ones?

Even as the writer I do not know. Has this ever happened to you?  Has a character, or some other element in your story, elbowed their way to the surface and demanded to be written?

Cheers,

Bob

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