We talked about the story having a life of its own…

Today I was writing when suddenly the Huguenots made an appearance.

My midwife said something like this: “My ma was a Roman Catholic, my pa of Huguenot ancestry.”

I had no intention of writing about this part of history – my setting for this part of the story is 1914. I did not realize I had been thinking about the Huguenots, but obviously I had been, somewhere. I think that the Huguenots represent an element of such mystery and horror to me that they found their way into the story all on their own. Next thing I knew my mc was discussing history post Bloody Mary. Ok, what’s going on? I asked myself.

I re-read and re-read what I had written. Normally I just write without pause, yet this was so unexpected that I had to stop.

Was this out of character? No, it was  just a short dialogue. My MC is an amateur historian.  Her midwife an educated woman.

Yet I wondered, what did this snippet of detail contribute, other than satisfying my own fascination? I had no idea, so I decided to make a note for myself, add a footnote, and continue on. Maybe the appearance of the Huguenots would have a purpose I could not yet deduce, or maybe not. Not, I could just cut in a later draft.

Perhaps this will reflect a trait of my midwife; perhaps there will be correlation with the war of 1914; or maybe it will be about my MC, and her response to this info about her midwife.

Amazing how one little line can creep into my book and cause all this mayhem. I look forward to seeing what it will turn itself into.

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12 thoughts on “We talked about the story having a life of its own…

  1. There’s really something magical when those characters start talking for themselves! I suppose it’s really the magic of the brain making connections so quickly that your consciousness isn’t fully aware of the connection until after the fact.

    Of course, such a leap can cause problems if a character says something that redefines the plot, but in this case, as you said, you can use it to develop one or more of the characters (or you can cut it later).

    I’ve found lately that my characters are saying and doing things that do change the plot pretty radically. I have to look at the changes and really think hard about whether I’m just writing nonsense or whether I’m starting to realize that the plot needs to go in a different direction.

  2. I’m sure it will be exciting to see where this goes.I think you’re right when you say these stories must be a part of us. Where else could something come from that was expected like that?

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