English: Picture of chupacabra.

English: Picture of chupacabra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today my Flash story “Date Night” is out on Karen Michelle Nutt’s Halloween Flash Bash. There have been some most awesome stories on her month-long flash party. I hope you’ll stop over and read mine and some of the others too.

William Robert Travis, the protagonist of “Date Night”, has his very own series of short stories. His side kick, Columbine, also appears in another longer William Robert Travis story. I hadn’t intended for Columbine to be a recurring character, but sometimes my characters have plans of their own.  I have a feeling we’ll see Columbine again.

Some writers feel that this notion that characters can have “minds of their own” or “take over” is sheer silliness. Some people’s characters do what they’re supposed to do, fulfill their role in the story, and that’s that. It seems to work fine and some writers write compelling characters and terrific stories that way.

Others of us have a more organic writing process. NaNoWriMo, among others, call us the “pantsters”. People who write by the seat of our pants, not knowing until we get there what the story really is.. I’m not a true pantster. I always know what my story is! I may not know exactly how the story is going to happen. One way I think about characters is by considering them as strings of logical consequence based on how I’ve established their personality. Sometimes this means that when I’m writing, I end up with a character that “won’t do” what I tell him to do. In less fanciful terms, this is a point where I thought I knew which way the story was going to go or what a character would do, but after writing the story and getting to that point, I realize, consciously or sub-consciously, that the action doesn’t really fit the personality & logical consequences string that I’ve created so far.

In “Date Night”, originally I had planned for my character William Robert (Billy Bob to his friends) to defeat the chupacabra with his angel mojo. That totally didn’t happen. The logic of Billy Bob’s story cannon wouldn’t allow it, so I had to get him out of his predicament in another way. I think the story is better for it, but ultimately you, the reader, are the judge of that!


2 thoughts on “Chupacabra!

  1. I had characters act in ways that surprised the hell out of me. I personally think that it is a sign of a successful story. (I am walking into the NAnovwrimo with an outline, but there is no promise that I will use it.)

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