I've read plenty of articles online about authors whose characters 'speak' to them, with the result that plot lines change and the entire book turns upside down. While writing Ice Roses, I'd encountered this in a minor scale. Characters I'd never known existed popped out of the framework of the story, but no major plot lines changed because of it. The extra characters merely added richness and flavour to what was already there, strengthening what I had without being too demanding.
With Ethereal, my Beauty and the Beast retelling, it's a different story. Yesterday, I was writing like I do every Sunday afternoon after church. (I try really hard not to do homework on Sundays, and I've found myself looking forward to them!)
Anyways, at the beginning of the novel, my main character--named Bria--encounters a fairly stereotypical jerk character. Though I'm ashamed to admit it, because it was a first draft I inserted him merely to help flesh out Bria and give hints to her background so I didn't have to dump the information like a ton of bricks. I'd planned on having him vanish after the first chapter or so, nothing more than a breath in the tornado.
His name is Kylor, and he Spoke. He showed me that he wasn't just the mean guy I was writing him to be--that he had the depth and the determination to become a Main Character. That he had a life beyond what Bria sees, and hopes and yearnings all his own. In some ways, he's even more heroic than Bria is. He has big dreams and yearns to see the larger picture of life, while Bria, in many ways, is childishly selfish and small-minded.
And thus, plots that I had been struggling to weave fell into place, spinning out of his inclusion. The epic fantasy I'm trying to create from this intimate fairy tale is possible because of Kylor and his demands to be a part of this story. I have a feeling that by the end, this rugged short guy is gonna be a favourite of mine. He's wormed his way into this novel--it's only natural that he should do the same with my heart. ;)
Because of him, I got very little sleep last night. I'd been idea-dry for a long time with this story, but his arrival brought a swarm of ideas that kept haunting me even after I turned out the light. I kept my notebook handy to write them all down. So, while I am exhausted this morning, I am ecstatic that this story is finally getting somewhere--and all because Kylor Spoke!