Hello all, and many apologies for my absence. I don't know what I've been doing. Service planning and assignments as well as working on The Poison Maiden, I suppose. All is going well.
I am now on 18,563 words, which is nowhere near what it should be.
It's funny - I remember a time in my life, a while ago now, that I thought I knew everything there was to know about my main character, Visha. I would have sworn, at that time, that you could give me any situation to write her into and I would know exactly how she would react.
Ah, the arrogance of youth. I was still in school then. I have learned otherwise since.
The fact is, a well-rounded enough character can surprise even the writer, because humans are erratic. If we, the writers, know anything about ourselves, it is that. Humans are largely upredictable, and a writer trying to force a character to do something that clearly doesn't fit is not going to come away with a decent story.
I think to Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World, in which the characters are infuriated by their author's wishes for them. (Possible spoilers if you wish to read). As such, they try to divert his attention by doing outrageous things that he needs to tie up and explain while they slip away, out of the story.
A wonderful read for those of you into philosophy, I highly recommend.
Now I'm not saying that our characters have a life of their own in quite such a sense (though I like the idea), but I do think our characters' unpredictable behaviour comes from somewhere in our subconscious. we store all sorts of information about human behaviour from our day to day experiences, and though we may not be able to bring these experiences or insights to mind on a conscious level, they are there, waiting to be discovered.
And I think writing taps into that and explores our human experience, which might otherwise be forgotten or ignored. What a wonderful privilege we have.