The thing that surprised me the most about writing my first novel was the fact that I did not feel so much like the creator of the story as the vessel into which it was poured. The ideas and characters filled me, threatening to overflow. I had no choice but to put pen to paper and begin writing.
I was fascinated at times as a scene played out in my mind and a character responded in a way that even I did not expect. The words flowed across the page and theresponse felt right, but it took the story in a very different direction than the one that I had planned. It was exhilarating to experience the story through them. I experienced the same feeling that I do when I’m reading; I needed to know how it would end.
Of course it didn’t always happen so smoothly. There were moments when I tried to impose my will upon the narrative. When that happened I would look back at the scene or the direction of the story and realize that it didn’t feel right. I would have to replay the events in my mind and ask myself, “Is that how I would have reacted, or how my character would have reacted?”
People often talk about writers finding their voice. I think it’s even more important to listen to the voices of our characters. Find their voice and let them speak through you. After all, it is their story we’re telling.
Do you feel this way when you’re writing? What do you do when something feels “off” in your story?
Nicole L. Bates is a science fiction and fantasy novelist who loves creativity in all its forms. She has completed two speculative fiction manuscripts for which she is currently seeking representation. Nicole also loves to read, run, and eat organic food! You can join Nicole on twitter @NicoleLBates or on Facebook. You can read more from Nicole on her blog at http://www.nicolelbates.com