Today’s Feature – Writer Possessed: When Characters Take Control by @TheAnnaDurand #CharactersBehavingBadly

Few of us like to have our lives
controlled by someone else. If we feel pushed into a corner, we push back.
Writers often deal with an unexpected version of this push-back — when our
fictional characters refuse to do as we say. They take control of the writer’s
mind like a spirit possession and rewrite their stories their way. Are writers
simply insane?
Well…Some of us might be a
little crazy. But the possessed writer phenomenon stems from something far
simpler and less dangerous. The human mind doesn’t work like a computer,
cranking out information as programmed in the expected manner. Try as we might
to control our brains, we can lose control of the creative process when that
illogical, artistic side of the mind awakens. Characters in a novel must become
pseudo-real to us, otherwise how can we care enough to write them a great
story? When fictional beings turn into people we love, then we’ve given the
characters leave to seize control of our minds and our stories. They tell us
what works for them and what doesn’t.
Here’s an example. The first draft
of my book Intuition, a paranormal
romance, was good but not great. I knew it lacked something, but I couldn’t
figure out what. As I began editing it, I let the heroine, Grace, possess me
for a while. I became her, diving deeper into her psyche than ever before — and
the answer revealed itself. Grace showed me what her story needed. The stakes
weren’t quite high enough for her. She needed to confront her greatest fear
head-on and have no choice but to plunge straight into the fire. This changed
the tack of a crucial scene in the middle of the book, which in turn upped the
ante for the rest of the book.
Intuition is the second book in the Psychic Crossroads series. Grace
has psychic abilities that frighten her because in the first book, Willpower, her abilities nearly consumed
her. In the second book, in order to save the life of her soul mate, David, she
must face her fear — even at the risk of losing her soul. By letting a
character take control, I discovered what the book was missing and crafted an
award-winning story I’m proud of, one that has inspired me to make the third
book in the series even more of a nail-biter. And yes, for that book a
character will possess me for a time. Possibly more than one will.
The writer possessed is a writer
who knows her characters intimately. Knowing your hero, heroine, villain, and
secondary characters inside out inspires you to create stories readers will
devour, yet be left hungering for more.
Anna Durand is an award-winning
writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in
steamy romances, both paranormal and contemporary, featuring spunky heroines
and hunky heroes. As a member of Romance Writers of America, she volunteers for
its chapter to give back to the romance community. In her previous life as a
librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot
vampires hunting for magical books.
Torn apart by their haunted pasts,
Grace Powell and her fiancé David Ransom are struggling to reclaim their
passionate bond and build a normal life — one without danger and paranormal
powers. But David can’t renounce his obsession with hunting down Karl Tesler,
who abducts and tortures psychics. David endured Tesler’s tactics himself, but
despite what Grace believes, he’s not out for revenge.
Tesler covets her unprecedented
abilities and her mysterious connection to a source of limitless psychic power.
David will do anything — even abandon and lie to her — to protect Grace from
With a psychic stalker on her
trail, Grace charges into a desperate mission to uncover the truth about
David’s obsession. But Tesler’s agents are closing in on her, and a terrifying
new enemy is rising…
As events drive Grace and David
toward a battle of epic proportions, they must risk everything — their
relationship, their lives, and even their souls — to defeat an enemy who wields
unspeakable psychic power.
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