It's not hard to imagine how silly it sounds to most people when I say that sometimes the characters in my stories surprise me with the things they do; in fact, it sounds kind of silly to me right now as I type this. The fact of the matter is, though, that sometimes they do. And when that happens, it's kind of magical, because usually the story takes a turn for the better.
Case in point - a short story I've just finished. It's about a young man who takes his girlfriend to the lake for a late-afternoon swim on a lazy summer day. One thing leads to another and before the day is out, someone has been murdered and someone else is scrambling to cover up the killing.
I don't want to go into too much detail, because I'm hoping that at some point you'll have the opportunity to read this story somewhere. When and where you'll read it are still very much up in the air, as is the question of if you'll ever even read it. However, hope springs eternal as my dad used to say, so I don't want to give away my ending.
The point is, though, that the way this story eventually ends is very different from how I had envisioned it ending when I first started typing away. One of my main characters wrested control of the action away from me and wouldn't give it up, which seems only fair, since the whole thing directly affected him.
That sort of occurrence seems to happen a lot to me while I'm writing, and I wonder why that is. When that lightbulb goes on over my head, like Wile E. Coyote getting a great idea, some of the best plot twists and turns seem to follow. I guess the idea is somewhere inside my thick skull all along, but I'm just too dense to recognize it until a character hits me over the head with it.
That's one of the things I love about writing. You start out attempting to create something specific that you visualize in your mind's eye, and sometimes end up with a creation that looks completely different when you're all done. Like Frankenstein's Monster maybe. Not that I'm trying to compare myself to Mary Shelley, you understand. More like that poor schlub Frankenstein.
But what the hell. Frankenstein's creation made quite an impact anyway, right?