I thought writing was as simple as you think about something to write about and make up some people who do whatever this thing is. But it doesn’t always happen like that. Yep, sure I make up the characters, but then they seem to want to do their own thing.
To get theological about this, one of the defences by Christianity against the accusation that the suffering in the world demonstrates there is no God, is that God invented free-will. Now whilst I’m not comfortable with the idea that he is sat on his hands up there merely observing us doing horrible things to each other and wrecking the planet on which we live, I sort of understand the argument now.
You see, in my stories I guess I am The Creator. I have made these characters and, with the plot I have sketched out, I am trying to guide them down a particular path. But people can be unpredictable and sometimes my characters take the gifts I have given them and do something with them I hadn’t anticipated. Which is why Gamekeeper Turned Poacher has spawned a sequel. It was never meant to have one but the people in it, my people, conspired against me.
That’s not the only instance either. I have recently completed another book I shall share with you at some point, provisionally titled Never mind, just rewind, about a chap, Alex, who finds he can turn back time by a single minute. I had planned out thoroughly what he would seek to do with this remarkable ability; the opportunities it would offer and the clear limitations of only having a minute to play with. Well bugger me if he didn’t go off and do things completely differently!
Now whilst I was more than a little peeved with that rapscallion, I did start to understand why it had happened. It’s like being a parent. You and your partner make the child and then you do your best to raise it as you see fit. Ultimately, however, it will then take what you have given it in terms of nature and nurture and find its own path.
Not only have I gained understanding, I have also come to appreciate this phenomenon in writing fiction. The unpredictability is what keeps me going on the days (thankfully few so far) when I would rather be doing anything but writing. Well, that and the thought someone might actually derive enjoyment from what I have created.