DWJ in Saga

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Mon Jul 11 14:58:12 EDT 2005

Ven said...

> Note that Dwj xsays they will act "like" real,
> independent people. They are after all still in
> Diana's head, still on the pages she is writing.
> Dwj does not forget who is doing the thinking.
> It always fascinates me that some authors claim
> never to let their characters escape their
> control.

We've discussed this idea on my writers' list a few times.  My theory is 
that authors who claim that their characters do what they tell them to (Kim 
Newman, for instance, is one of these), have their subconscious minds under 
impressive control.

I have been known to say things about my characters like, "but then X 
suddenly told me..." or "but then Y took off on a complete tangent" - but 
when I say things like this, it's actually more of a short-hand or 
code-phrase for something like, "but then, while I was writing, this 
amazingly cool idea that I never thought of consciously before but that 
completely fit the situation occurred to me, so I ran with it, and it 
worked, and wow!"  (Several other writers I know agree with me about this 
"code-phrase" idea.)

So I reckon that writers who claim their characters only do what they're 
told must have very-well-regulated subconscious minds that never throw up 
mad-cool ideas in the midst of writing, but only in the planning and 
outlining stages.

(And, of course, we none of us ever talk about the times where our 
subconscious throws up a mad-cool idea in the middle of writing, and we run 
with it, and it turns out to be completely crap and we scrap it and go back 
to what we'd originally planned to do.  Because that doesn't make a good 
story. :-) )

Dorian (currently engaged in a writing marathon). 

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