Who’s in Charge Here?


Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.


Who’s the boss, you or the story?


The story, every time. In fact, the whole of my writing career so far has been based on me writing down what the characters show and tell me. Anyone who knows me will tell you that, without help, I’m simply incapable of stringing enough words together to write a story that makes sense. I know I’ve said it before, I used to have trouble writing a letter home and I always hated writing official reports. I managed by putting a number in every box and keeping my comments brief.

Once you have got past the initial surprise, when the words start flowing and you come to accept that you are merely a conduit for the voices in your head, then everything else falls into place. I’m quite happy to leave them to get on with it, all that’s required of me is to sit at the keyboard and type.

My characters tell me their stories via a film that plays in my head. I have no idea what will happen next, although, with some of the regular characters that visit me, I’m getting used to the way they live their lives and the adventures they get into. But I never anticipate, I just type what I see. I’ve tried guessing where the stories are going and it’s ended badly, lesson learned.

Doing it that way, I have no option but to let the story be the boss. When we get to an exciting bit the action slows down to give my fingers a chance to keep up. Very often, I’ll see the same scene several times, from different angles. I guess that they are making sure that I’ve described it correctly.

But it’s not all plain sailing, with me just seeing what they show me and writing it all down. If only. Inevitably, we come to the arguments, the petulance and the moods. Honestly, for voices in my head they can be anything but helpful sometimes. Don’t forget I had three daughters, I’m used to arguments and moods. It can get quite messy at times.

Like when one set of characters want to tell me their story but the set who are currently doing it want to carry on. Which results in a headache while they argue about whose story is more important, or interesting or…, whatever. Then there are the times when whoever is narrating gets fed up and leaves, usually at a really interesting part of the story. I might not hear from them again for ages. Meanwhile, I have to wait for someone else to turn up. I always hope that they will be one of the familiar ones and that they will restart an old story. More often, it will be something completely different. Leaving me with another half-finished novel to add to the pile.

As you can see, the story is in charge, there is no doubt about it.


I’d like to wish you all the best for 2021. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all my ramblings and look forward to your company next year.



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8 Responses

    • Richard Dee

      Yes, I’ve learned not to upset them, or they will refuse to tell me what happens next.

  1. phil huston

    I’ve had characters walk out of a dynamited building, brush off the dust and say, “What the f*ck was that?” The same with driving up shot in the leg? “What? Why am I shot in the leg?” My best one was when the story was trucking along fine and a would be assassin gets shot and then his car blows up. The girl delivering the take out knocks on the motel door. Guy asks her “I wonder who shot that dude?” “I did,” she said. “With your gun.” That was when I went WTF? You guys are killing me here!

    • Richard Dee

      I’ve learned that they know far more about what’s going on than I do. I suppose they would, it’s THEIR world, after all.

  2. Lela Markham

    Shane, my main character mind you, is taking this next book off. He’ll be around, but he doesn’t want to be central. “Uh, but you’re the main character.” He thinks his brother can carry the story. This is the hardest book I’ve written in a while. It’s not that Cai isn’t talking to me — he is — but that I’m having a hard time getting him to be as exciting as Shane can be. But, yeah, I get it. The guy got pretty beat-up in “Winter’s Reckoning.” He could use some rest. But my goodness — who is supposed to be writing this story, anyway?

    • Richard Dee

      My characters take time out by introducing someone else and getting them to play at being the narrator for a while. Usually for an unconnected story.

  3. Stevie Turner

    So surely it’s yourself and the thoughts in your own head who are giving your characters life? I’m not sure how any story would get written except via its author.

    • Richard Dee

      That is the logical answer, however I would question where the information has been hiding for the first 55 years of my life. I think it’s being downloaded from somewhere, why I’ve been chosen to receive it is a mystery.

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