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This is a passage I read today:

Most people read fiction not so much for plot as for company. In a good piece of fiction, you can meet someone and get to know her in-depth, or you can meet yourself, in disguise, and imaginatively live out and understand your passions. –Josip Novakovich

So, for a reader, characters are important. What about their importance for writers?

I’m struggling with a character in one of my stories. The plot needs to go one way, and he is going the other. How far would you let your character dictate your plot, and when would you rein him/her in?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • damyantig says:

    Darc, I’m letting the character have its way. But this will change if during revision I find that the story does not work.

    Kym, it is a bit of both I guess 🙂

    Ovidia, seeding for another story makes a lot of sense. This might help me out of my current character predicament.

  • Ovidia says:

    I ‘follow’ characters too. But sometimes they branch off into another potential book/story & I ‘seed’ that for next & carry on with what I’m trying to write…

  • Kym says:

    I try really hard to follow my characters where they go. I can’t decide if that is good writing or failure of leadership;>

  • DarcKnyt says:

    I’ve heard this before from writers, though I’ve never experienced it myself. I suppose it depends on the writer. My stories go the way I say they’ll go, period, but for writers who let the story “write itself”, I think they tend to follow the story rather than force themselves over it.

    I’ll be interested to see what you decide.

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