Writing On Wednesday: Do Your Characters Ever Surprise You?

After a two+ week delay I’m finally able to post Writing on Wednesday and the last question I said was going to be posted! Thanks for being patient for those who wanted to participate and don’t forget if you have a question or thought you’d think would make an interesting post let me know.

Writing on Wednesday is a weekly meme, created right here at Bookish Ardour and is for everyone to participate in. Every Wednesday I will post a new question for writers to answer on their own blogs or to answer in the comments. You can be aspiring, you can be published, or just write as a hobby.

All you have to do is link back to this post and leave a link to yours in the comments. Simple! Please remember to leave a proper comment on other’s blogs, and not just an I was here one. Thanks!

This Week’s Question: Do your characters ever surprise you? And if not, do you wish they did?

My answer – At first I wanted to ask this one because every now and then I come across a post or article by a writer, or with an interview, where the writer has made it sound like these characters have a mind of their own. Then one day my story took an interesting turn that I wasn’t expecting, this made me think more about the relationship between characters and our imagination.

More recently I came across a post that was very well written, and damn it I can’t find it, but was discussing how characters can’t be a surprise or the story can’t because you’re creating the characters yourself and that people who hear the voice of their character as being apart from them and surprising them are probably suffering from a mental illness.

This has confused and perplexed me because sometimes when I hear about a writer saying their character surprised them I wonder how that works and why hasn’t that happened with me? My characters don’t really surprise me. What does surprise me is when I think a story or a character is going one way so much so that I’ve accepted the outcome only to have it abruptly changed. I’m sure it’s happened to lots of other writers, you’re sitting there minding your own business or even mulling over a problem that you think you’ve figured out, but then you’re hit with another idea. It’s like a vision popping into your head and all these connections are made, connections that make complex and dizzying sense, it’s a beautiful thing.

That’s the part that surprises me. I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security with what’s going on, even though I know it can abruptly change, and even though I know it can be altered I still am surprised by it when it happens. I don’t think, or at least for me, that characters or plots can truly surprise me with a definite unexpected turn because it’s all in there somewhere, but I also don’t think that hearing a voice of your character is a mental illness.

Every time I contemplate this, how other writers feel about their character actions, and the people who hear a voice as if it’s a separate entity, I feel at a bit of a loss and in all honesty it gives me a headache trying to figure it out.

Now, did that make sense? I hope it did because sometimes it doesn’t to me, but it doesn’t matter. Interpret that question however you wish and I’m curious to see what answers come of it!

Next Week's Question: Submitting your work to any medium, such as a
newspaper or magazine, competition or ezine. Tell us about your submission
experiences and if you haven't done it before, have you or would you
consider it?

To submit a question please email bookishardour@gmail.com with
WriWe in the subject title.

4 thoughts on “Writing On Wednesday: Do Your Characters Ever Surprise You?

  1. Wow, very cool feature! I’ve never heard of it but am tempted to start following even though I don’t write that much. I loved your answer as I’ve felt the same from time to time. When I hear readers talk about their characters like they are real people outside of the author’s head, I think to myself, that’s so strange! But I’ve also had ideas just pop up and then the whole story takes a new direction, just like you described.


    • I don’t think it matters if you write only once a decade! It’s there for all types of writers to join in and share those questions we all have if we can’t share it with other writers normally.

      It’s an interesting process isn’t it? I’ve been trying to analyse it for some time now and I’m starting to think maybe it’s one of those things that should just be left alone. I’m glad someone else has the same sort of response to other writers saying that too!


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