Maybe my title is a little overly dramatic, but not to the little lizard I saved from certain death during my morning jog along the railroad tracks.
It was one of those moments when I just happened to look down and saw a tiny baby lizard being attacked by three red ants. He was so small, I’m sure he didn’t know what was happening as he was being bitten.
Instinctively, I reached down and picked him up (which, to my surprise, he let me). In so doing, I dislodged the nasty ants, and the little guy went along his way.
For Writers: My intervening role made me think about the authorial intervention we take with our characters and how doing so can dramatically change a story’s outcome. Do you let your characters speak for themselves and lead you through the story? Or do you intervene, reeling them in so that you can keep them on the path you’ve pre-selected? Or do you do a little of both? What seems to work best for you, personally?
In my first novel, I tried to keep them on their ‘path,’ but loosened the grip toward the end. I think that approach – for me, at least – led to a much more organic and realistic feel. On my current novel, I’m getting to “know” my characters very well upfront. I’m planning to trust them to lead me along the way, though I have a “general” path I’m expecting them to follow. Whether they comply remains to be seen!