I never had imaginary friends growing up.
I had stuffed animals who I imagined were alive but they were grounded in reality and fluffiness. I never made anyone up on my own, the voice in my head was my own and very alone.
Until I decided to do nanowrimo in 2016 and I said I don’t care what I write, I’m going to write 50,000 words of prose and I don’t care what that prose is.
So, as a poet not knowing anything about writing fiction, I began to write and out of my writing came my first imaginary friends.
And the reason why I call them imaginary friends and not just characters is because as I wrote their story they started deviating from my plot and making their own decisions.
I would write a scene and hate it. I would write another scene and hate it too. And then I asked my character point blank: “What the actual fuck is wrong with you? Why aren’t you doing what I want?”
And that character talked back to me. He said, and I quote: “Becasue it’s stupid. I don’t want to do that.”
And that is how Away from my Heart of the Forest Cycle was born. He told me “no.” I asked him what he wanted to do instead. And he told me. So I wrote that. And I liked it a lot better than what I had tried to come up with.
SO the moral of this story is LISTEN TO YOUR CHARACTERS.
If you’re stuck somewhere and slumping around writing, check to see if your characters are working with the scene or not.
Don’t force your characters to do something that they wouldn’t normally do unless you have a really good reason. Because you want your plot to go that way is not a good enough reason.
If your characters want to do something that seems completely crazy to you, let them do it. You can always cut it out later or change it if you don’t like it.
You gave your characters life by writing their stories. Let them live.
You are not losing your mind if your characters talk back to you 🙂