This is letter O in my A-Z series "26 Things that Made Me a Writer".
I struggled to come up with a word for O for a long time. Then last night, while cleaning up (yes, I did get up at 5.30am to write this - shhh, don't tell anyone I'm obsessed with the Challenge) it hit me. We all get to play God as writers and have the chance to be Omnipotent (or an Overlord, if you will). It was certainly attractive to me when I started (mwahaha - rubs hands together evilly).
But is it strictly true? It sparked an interesting debate for me. On the one hand, you have writers like Tolkien, who certainly does appear to be a kind of Creator-like entity as he invented an entire universe and filled it with peoples, landscapes, history, customs and languages. A stunning feat.
But among our most important creations (the most important, arguably) are our characters. And once they get on the page, they have a tendency to take over and have us dancing to their tune. Tolkien certainly seems to me more of a plotter than a pantser, but I would say in his case the characters are secondary to the overall myth-like effect.
Writers like Steinbeck have said that they felt like mere observers in their own stories, simply looking on and recording events from the sidelines. And I read an interview recently with an author (sorry, can't remember who or where but it was on a blog so that should narrow it down!) who said she knew her recurring characters, a pair of female detectives, so well that when it came to dialogue, she just tuned in and tried to type fast enough to keep up. I'd love to experience that.
So there is today's question: Do you feel like you retain ultimate control over your stories? Or do your characters take over and start telling their own stories, even if you might not like it?
Sorry this is not more in-depth. Think I'm suffering from sleep deprivation!