Fact: Fictional characters are the truth behind Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.
They live in our subconscious, and once they've burrowed a nice cozy nook for themselves ... they evolve. And once in a while, they kick down the door between subconscious and conscious, and start making demands.
Or they skip the demanding and just take over.
Sometimes they go a little too rogue and have to be reined back in. Often, though—at least in my experience so far—they make better decisions than I would if I knew I was making them. (If that makes sense...)
So I thought it'd be fun to categorize the various curve-balls my characters have thrown at me thus far.
- The "Don't Think You Know Me Better Than I Do" Curve-Ball This was the first I ran into. I was maybe a third of the way through the first draft of Fingerprints when a side character decided to be a snotty brat about a (planned) turn of events. Who knew she felt that way? Or that it'd end up being a critical development for the whole series?
- The "Let's Talk Technique" Curve-Ball This one happened after I'd added terms like "POV shift" and "head-hopping" to my functional vocabulary. I had great momentum going, writing the last quarter or so of the new project. Great hook at the end of a chapter (I think), went to a new page for the next chapter and ... it immediately played out from 2nd-Most-Important-Character's POV, not Ms. MC who'd been running the show (in tight third person) up to that point. I think there were good reasons for making the shift, and it ended up helping with a dilemma I was already worried about in an upcoming scene. We'll wait for my critique partners to let me know whether I pulled it off.
- The "You Think You're Done With Me?—You're Not Done With Me!" Curve-Ball Another fairly recent development. I thought the Crossing the Helix books were set as a solid trilogy. A couple ideas for short-story or novella length prequels, maybe, but that was it. Then Taz (who's usually been much quieter than Raina—no deaf jokes, please) piped up with an idea for a fourth book, launching a new arc. So it's on the list of possible projects.
Have you experienced these types of curve-balls, or others I haven't mentioned? Did they lead you to the promised land ... or down a certain path paved with good intentions?