The Character Snowball

Some writers are able to write about a set of characters, tell their story, and call it a day. The characters make their peace, achieve their goals, take their final bow, and…scene.

I am a little different.

When I create characters, they tend to take on a life of their own. This is a good thing, but what if they take your story and run with it?

This is the Character Snowball. It can be a good thing if the writer maintains control and steers the story while the character helps with the map. It becomes a bad thing if the characters run off and leave the writer staring at a unfinished piece.

The Character Snowball happens to me almost every time. My characters like to go off and do something unexpected, or sit back and let an event happen that spins the story off into a brand new direction. For this reason, my favorite stories spring into a series. 

The key to surviving the Character Snowball is to maintain control. I’ve learned that plotting helps this greatly; it gives me a clear path from start to finish, but also leaves space for the story to expand or shrink based on the characters’ whims. I still determine what will and will not happen, but I also allow the characters to flesh themselves out. This has led to a number of great plot additions, turning points, and complications. 

Do not fear the Character Snowball; jump into the

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