|Actor Jeff Bosley as J. Lindsay Calhoun|
Then I started putting faces to these characteristics. The Internet proved to be a huge help, especially social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I could easily imagine my stories in film, so started looking at potential actors for key roles. I found Jeff Bosley via a mutual Facebook friend, and thought he'd make a good J. Lindsay Calhoun.
But soon it became apparent that our personal ideals weren't exactly on the same page. Not that they needed to be, mind you. After all, a good actor can play any role. But still, he was so different from my hero. Big into bodybuilding, action heroes, Green Beret and other military stuff... like guns. So totally unlike my perfect protagonist.
When I seriously began writing, Lindsay took over and started changing the story lines. In one chapter, he was out of town and Megan had a home invasion. He handled the situation by phone until he could quickly fly back to Denver via a private jet. That's when Megan discovered he was carrying a sidearm, and before I knew what happened, the hero and his love are arguing about guns.
What? Arguing? Stop that! You're supposed to be perfect, not to mention crazy about each other. You cannot argue in my novel.
It became obvious as the conversation grew more heated, that Lindsay was really more of a libertarian thinker than a liberal. How could that be happening? I'd totally lost control of the plot.
When I really thought about it, it kind of made sense for him. He is, after all, a lawyer with deep understanding of constitutional law. Through his career, he has connections with various police departments. He's also a kilted bagpiper, and a logical pipe-and-drum band connection would be through a police regiment. I really couldn't just ignore the military and weapons aspects of this character, could I?
No. I could not.
So now I have all kinds of conflict. And a more interesting hero. And loads more story potential.
I also dislike my main character a little. Sometimes even a lot. I'm guessing so does the heroine. Now I'm having to deal with that issue. I see much more plot tension in my future.
Thanks a lot, Mr. Bosley. It's all your fault. ;)
Want to know more about this actor? Here's a fabulous interview at The IF List. I'll tell you more about them on Friday. It's a seriously awesome writing tool and an opportunity to put your novels on a dream casting website.
What about the rest of you writers? Have you ever had a character take over your story and drag it down some path you never consciously imagined? Do tell me about it in a comment.