While talking with a friend recently about writing, I realized that my characters haven’t been taking their stories into their own hands and running off with them as much as they have in the past. On the one hand, this does make it easier to get them to do things. On the other, some of my favorite scenes have been completely unplanned and entirely outside of what I would have written had I stuck with what I thought needed to happen, and in angstier moments, I catch myself wondering if I’m structuring my writing into predictable scenes and stilted conflict.
It’s not so bad as that, fortunately.
In fact, the more I’m thinking about it, it’s not so much that my characters aren’t flying off to do their own at all, and more that the whole story will twist on itself and zip off somewhere I didn’t expect. Is it still possible that my characters aren’t as fully rounded as I want them to be, and/or that I just don’t know them well enough to have my subconscious take the reins? Oh, absolutely. And that’s something I’ll have to work on, I have no doubt. But fortunately, I don’t think it’s evidence that I’ve regressed in my writing ability. Despite what I try to tell myself on a bad writing day.