- by Kim Watters
As I sit watching my daughter’s ballet class, I marvel at the patience of the teacher trying her best to corral a bunch of high-energy, enthusiastic 4 and 5 year olds into some semblance of order.
As a mother, there is nothing cuter than seeing a group of little girls parading around in pink tutus, tights, and ballet slippers, whose attention is easily diverted by the mirrors, each other, and hey-what’s behind this door?
However, as a writer, I cringe each time one of these little princesses wanders off because *gasp* they are doing what children…and our characters, like to do best…WANDER OFF.
Today, though while the little girls stumble through the motions, trying to grasp the concept, I can’t help but chuckle. How like my characters. Each with a mind of her own. Each trying to see what lurks behind that closet door at the back of the room. Each doing what she wants to do, not what her masterful teacher, er…author wants her to do.
Where does this leave us? With a certain creativity that comes from within. Dancing horses, princess walks, to floating balloons designed to stretch their young imaginations. I, too, am learning from this class.
But wait. My daughter has decided that she just doesn’t want to cooperate today. And she’s so darned cute in her determination not to do what the teacher asks. How many times have your characters decided that no matter how you cajole, beg, and demand, that they are just not going to do what you want them to do? Sorry, stickers and a treat aren’t going to work this time.
So what do you as authors do? How do you handle character interruptions? Me? Now that I’ve learned to let go, I go with the flow. I let them take the lead. I allow my characters to do what they want-as long as no one gets hurt. You never know where it’s going to take them, the story, and the romance.
It’s finally near the end of class for this week. Terrific! My daughter’s off her tiny, pink encased bottom and on her pink encased feet with her arms in the air. I really credit the teacher, who is a grade school teacher by profession, in keeping the kids focused and happy. I, however, have no such compunction. Discovering something new about my characters when they start to misbehave makes me want to do my own princess walk across the keyboards to see where they will lead me.