forum So I'm having this weird problem with characters where they kind of take on a life of their own
Started by @Becfromthedead group

people_alt 56 followers

@Becfromthedead group

So yeah. It almost feels like they do what they want, even though I'm the writer.
I've especially been having problems with my protagonist. His head has been feeling very cloudy lately, for lack of a better explanation. He's horribly depressed, and recent events have made everything worse for him as a character, which is fine. That's part of his story. But it feels like he's dragging, like I can't get the plot quite rolling for some reason.
I'm sure more in-depth planning of plot points would help- to at least give me checkpoints. However, I was wondering if anyone has dealt with similar issues with writing, and how you dealt with it. I think the core of it might be that I have a plot-driven setting, but I write in an overly character-driven manner, and it's a difficult balance to strike.

Deleted user

hmm– this reminds me of this book i read called A Little Life, (heavily character-driven and over-the-top with it's kind of…dark and painful storyline,) where the main character is severely depressed and struggling to stay alfoat through the whole book. i could literally go on for hours about why i loved and absolutely hated this book, but anyways–
one of the things i picked up on before and after i finished it was how readily and slyly the author makes the reader attached and invested in the protagonist. the most important theme throughout his life story was the underlying struggle of battling his own emotions and memories, while also working through the pain of daily life. (so, person vs self + person vs the world).
so personally, i think the most powerful thing a writer can do is manipulate the reader (sounds bad ik) into registering the faults and overall composition of a character/protag to fuel their worry, love, hate, understanding, and intrigue towards them. basically, use what good and bad you have as an advantage. maybe ask yourself questions about how you want his character development to go. how will his story end? will he improve? how is he going to improve? what can you do to encourage or discourage his current path? what would devastate him, what would save him? (and if it's that type of story,) what could happen to make him succumb to /overcome his struggles?
sorry about any bad grammar. hope this helps :)

@Becfromthedead group

Yes, thank you! I like that set of questions a lot, actually. I'm also working on outlining my plot a little more thoroughly in the meantime as well.