Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God Complex and Mutiny

Many people assume that, like doctors, all writers have god complexes. And it’s an easy assumption to make. Writers create whole worlds from scratch, filling in every building and political belief, character and motivation.

But there’s one thing people don’t always know about writing – that sometimes, the characters we create have a mind of their own. You want them to be sad, but they’re funny. You mean for them to hate someone, but they wind up liking them. My friend Julie mentioned that she didn't intend to create a love triangle, it just happened. Characters can be greedy and difficult, and like a child to a parent, they don’t always mind their author’s instructions.

And it’s not just the characters that do what they want – one time I found my entire novel mutinying against me, insisting on changing its plot. It’s an odd feeling, realizing you don’t always have control over the world you created. The truth is, despite a writer’s authorial power, occasionally the stories control us. You can yell, and kick and scream, insisting on getting your way . . . or knuckle under and do what your novel wants you to do.

Still, religious philosophy dictates that God created mankind, and then gave us freewill. Perhaps these autonomous characters’ blatant disregard for our authorial intent merely demonstrates their own exertion of freewill. Maybe writers, like all creators, struggle with the strong, decisive nature of their creations. “God complex” might not be such a bad fit after all. 

1 comment:

  1. This is SO insightful! I never thought about our roles as authors as a "God Complex" before. But its very true. I suddenly feel a bit of remorese over all the grief I caused my parents when I wouldn't do what they said growing up ( : Haha! Looks like I'm getting a taste of my own medicine.

    Good post!