Monday, April 13, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Kinks

Don't worry. I'm not going all 50 Shades on you today. Honestly, I guess I could have called this something else, but I had a shortage of relevant words starting with K, so deal with it.

It is, however, a very important thing that all writers should know about writing.


You can do what you want. You can plan. You can decide on your road to the end of the story. You can decide how fast you write or how a small thing in your story will have a huge impact in the end.

Your characters (if they're at all well constructed) will invariably screw it up.

No really. To most of us (or at least I think so), our characters are real people. And no matter how good an idea you think you have, if they disagree, your story ain't going anywhere.

So, no matter how straight a line you're setting out on when you start to write a story, there will always be some unexpected kinks to it. (See what I did there?)

It's not all doom and gloom, though. Often, those kinks actually make the story much better than what you'd set out to do in the first place. Especially if what you wanted would have negated your character's motivation, personality etc.

So go with it. See where it goes. If it doesn't work out, you can always go back and wangle things to make them work the way you'd planned. Don't do that right off though, because characters like to believe they're really the ones in control.

Failing that, try bribing characters. They like bribes.

Anyone else have characters who like to have their own way? How do you deal with it? 


  1. I can usually keep my characters reined in although sometimes the story might veer off the path a bit.

  2. Brilliant use of word Misha thank you and an amusing and affirming post.. glad to know characters can be bribed. Anything to iron out the kinks ..

  3. I'm going to try and avoid as many kinks as possible by outlining my stories first. In fact, I started my current story without outlining. Now, I'm going back to the beginning and outlining the story before I continue.

    Precious Monsters

  4. Lovely idea, wonder if my child characters would respond to a bribe, think they might be too busy working out what happens next amongst themselves without reference to me.

  5. Never thought about bribing my characters. Interesting concept.

  6. If I have established a character, with all its good and bad, the story has to stay true to the character's development. Which means more work. No answers here.

  7. Definitely - sometimes I have characters who don't want to go where I want them to go . . . or at least it seems like that. And, then there's the ones that seem to need a lot of attention. :)

  8. Love the idea of bribing characters - definitely going to be doing that in my next WIP. I thought my characters were fairly well behaved, until I started outlining my second book, and now they've managed to steer me in a completely different direction! Not a bad thing, just unexpected!

  9. If life happens in the story, that makes it all the more real. Find a kink, iron it out. :)

  10. Clever post. I thought K was hard to get going on. I have never written a character and I wouldn't know where to start. I just write down my thoughts. A to Z

  11. My character doesn't like bribes. He would prefer it if I stopped trying to kill him. But the thing about this is, he doesn't get a say. Also, he wouldn't be in danger so much if he wasn't such an unrepentant asshole.

  12. I think to tell a good story you have to see your characters are real and yes, they do at times, hijack the story, lol! Sometimes that path is great sometimes not so much. But it can be fun.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  13. Hi, Misha,

    I like this word.... You are so right... kinks do make the story much more exciting and believable. Character are least they should be, if not the writing will be flat and unbelievable...

    I roll with the kinks when they pop up in my writing.

  14. I know what you mean! Once I tried to create a certain love interest for my main character, but the scenes between them fell flat; I knew that if I wasn't convinced by their relationship, no one else would be. It was like the main character was resisting that new character, so eventually I had to listen to her and save that other person for another story.

  15. Yeah. When I get stuck, it's often because I've got out of touch with what my characters really want. They just fold their arms and sit back, refusing to co-operate until I wise up.

  16. My characters always throw in curve balls when I'm least expecting it. It does tend to make for a much better story though.

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

  17. I've had characters who just won't do what I had planned. Annoyingly as I've written them it probably is my fault, but I'd rather blame the imaginary people in my head than admit I may not have planned properly.

  18. I am going to outline more on my next novel, but I don't know if I'll be able to stick to it. My subconscious loves kinks and they are usually gold mines.

  19. Ah...yeah. I find some characters easier to write than others. My heroine in my current WIP tugs me here and there with her indecisiveness. But I click just fine with my hero.

    Also I don't go into a story with a lot of outlining, so when a kink forces me to stumble through the writing, I find it easier to push through without knowing I've committed something to a page. Pantsing comes in handy here at least for me.

  20. If it happens in my story, I run with it for a while and see where my characters take me.

  21. Hmm. Do you bribe them with more page time, like actors? Or by offering to write them differently...more attractive, talented,intelligent, etc?

  22. Alex, personally I actually love when the story veers off.

    Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

    Best of luck, Jolie.

    Carole, sounds like your writing is full of surprises. ;-)

    AC, let me know if you try it.

    Susan, that's how I look at it too.

    Tyrean, I get those too.

    Rachel, those new directions tend to be the best ones.

    Very true, David.

    Well, Sandra, it's an adventure. ;-)

    Hahaha Nicky, your comment made my day.

    Sia, I also like when characters take control, because it means I did the characterization right.

    Very true. Thanks for stopping by, Michael.

    Neurotic, that's happened to me too.

    That happens to me too, Ian.

    Annalisa, I hear you.

    Hahaha Patsy, no, it's your characters' fault. Blame away. ;-)

    I'm the same, Tamara.

    Same here, Hana.

    Melissa, so do I. The interesting thing is they rarely lead me astray.

    LD, I usually do page time. If I really have to pull out the big guns, I'll promise a sequel. ;-)


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