What to do with a stubborn character

Damned if I know.

I’ve been writing, on and off for the past few months, on a novel. Working on the idea and research for much longer. I was motoring right along when all of a sudden the story began sputtering
empty fuel

Ever happen to you?

In an effort to nudge my protagonist along, I played with the outline and plot adding bits of information here and there, but she wasn’t in the mood. So I turned to my villain who was not in the mood to be evil.


There was nothing left for me to do but take a break, do more research, read a little, and write a few blog posts.

mud soldiersAt last, I returned to my WIP. Each sentence was like slogging through mud.


Then last week, as I was dusting our living room floor, my protagonist began whispering in my ear. She had the nerve to explain how the story should happen.

Whoa! Wait a minute!

Did she expect me to rewrite the whole damn story? Apparently. Well, to be honest, about two-thirds of it.

But, I’ve got to admit, her tale sounded a lot better than the direction I’d dragged around her butt all these weeks.

The premise is still the same. However, the antagonist is a different character, and the twist is much bigger and the bang bolder.

Why did this happen?

Here’s my theory. Over the past months of plotting, outlining, etc., I’ve gotten to know my protagonist. I mean really know her. Like we are best buds. And like best friends, she spoke up telling me what she thought. That’ll teach me to keep my distance next time. Sigh…

So here are my questions for Y’all.

  • Has this ever happened to you?
  • Why do you think this could happen?
  • Did you rewrite or persevere and keep with the original plan?
  • And isn’t it always better to go with bigger, bolder and different?

As always, at the end of this post, I’ve added terrific information for your reading pleasure.

Leave me a comment – I love comments.

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24 thoughts on “What to do with a stubborn character

  1. My protagonist didn’t stutter. She completely disappeared. Sure, her name was still there but, in my head, she didn’t have any form or substance to her. This was after a few weeks of writing too. Every once in a while, I see her down the street or hurrying out of a store when I’m in the back looking at the bargains. I figure she’ll come around in her own good time. I think she might want me to dramatize her story more but I don’t think she realized how dramatic it’s going to be by the time I get to the climax.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yeah! Gosh it’s happened more then I want to remember. Even sometimes when I’m writing along happily one of them comes along and goes ‘ah no that’s not happening. I’m doing this over here now’ very frustrating. I’ve learnt to go with it. If her story is better then don’t shit it down, she might not come back. Characters are very sensitive souls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ain’t that the truth. I think my characters are more sensitive that a hormonal teenager. Well I must admit, this time my character’s idea does have merit. So I’ll see what happens in spite of all the extra work required. Wish she’d told me this a few weeks ago.


  3. Best of luck on your re-write! I’m coming to appreciate what a scary but exhilarating process re-writing is. It’s like the roller coaster that you finally talk yourself into riding, only to regret it once you’re all strapped in and at the end of it all you’re so glad you did! If only I could manage to stay out of my own way more often, so I could spend less time on that roller coaster.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. She kissed someone she just wouldn’t have done. I knew her like a sister we whispered secrets late at night. But she kissed him back and then the story flashed and banged like an Indian storm. Did I take out the offending kiss? She was loyal kind and… just never had before. I scratched my head, frowned, sulked and six unproductive months passed. Then opened an alternatively named page and before long it was exhilarating . Pantsing became the order of the day and it fired me on improved the story. Sometimes we restrict ourselves by plotting and researching… sometimes we need to go with our gut. 😇 p.s. maybe the stale six months of fear and procrastination was the writer being stubborn?

    Liked by 1 person

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