I am very much a pantser. I tend to let the story go where it will and clean up afterwards. I know that sounds kind of irresponsible. It’s true. The thing is… my characters are the drivers in the story. If they decide to zig, then I have to zig with them. I’ve tried to zag when they zig and it didn’t work.
I’ve had characters who have changed personality through the story. One example is in my recent book, Finding Michael. Tristan is a writer. He has a very high opinion of himself. He’s a playboy. But he grows through the story. He has a few realizations through the book that I didn’t see coming. Instead of arguing with him, I let him go and the realizations made sense the more I went. Fighting what he wanted to do, which I tried, didn’t help. He argued with me, too.
I’ve had entire stories, like Tristan’s planned out. Like written all out in a notebook, 40,000 words done, planned out. I knew where I was going with the story and started moving what was in the notebook to the computer. Between the notebook and computer, the characters change. They evolve. I like it. I want them to grow. Just because I might have liked the original idea doesn’t mean the way they’re moving forward isn’t good. Most of the time, it’s great. The changes show me more of who the characters are.
I’ve had a couple characters grow through a series and now that I’m at the third book of the Picture Me series, I’m seeing just how original and more themselves they are becoming. It’s refreshing and challenging, but a good challenge.
I’d rather have the characters be themselves and evolve with the story, rather than have them be static. I’d rather be pushed as an author. I like growing in my profession and writing.