When you listen to the Lovin' Spoonful croon their hit, "Do You Believe in Magic?", you just have to smile. And when Zally does the re-launch 'cause he messed up? There's a little hiccup of pixie potion dusting the audience. They really do believe in magic.
But when it comes to writing, I don't believe in magic. I believe in hard work, diligence, inspiration, and a good dollop of luck. Not random luck, but that type of luck that favors the prepared. But what about those completely unexplainable moments when lightning strikes and showers of creativity-sparks pelt your fine, writerly skin?
When Uppington posted yesterday about flying monkeys, I had to laugh. And then nod, sheepishly. I recognize the symptom. There are times when our characters make choices within the plot that we authors don't initiate.
This is not voodoo or mysticism or silliness: it's simply the consequence of well-developed characters and an inner editor firmly attached to the balloon of inspiration. We all know that if a character introduced an idea completely at odds with our plot, we'd nix it in a heartbeat. My Eliahna, firmly entrenched in high fantasy countryside, will not be driving a porshe into her stable anytime soon. Regardless of the emblem.
Of course, if I were better acquainted with psychology, I might talk about transferring or projecting. But since I'm not, I won't.
What of your characters? Do they make choices on their own, do things they shouldn't, sneak off into trouble? Or are they all lined up, standing at attention, ready to do your beck and call?