BookEnds: When Characters Come To Life

Monster Girl Illustration

“Viki” by Victoria Skye Cleveland

I’m starting a new blog series on Verbs & Visuals called “BookEnds”. (Shout out to my friends who helped with the name!) Writing a book takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Or maybe that’s makes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Either way, it’s hard work and I’m finding that I have a lot to say about writing endings specifically. The following is a little story about how the ending to Monster Girl changed unexpectedly. Don’t worry, there are NO spoilers.

When it happens, it’s like being inside joy.* Like the high a runner gets (or so I’m told). It’s one of those moments that makes writing fun. And if it ain’t fun, why bother?

What’s this magical feeling I’m talking about? That moment when the character in the story takes on a life of her own – when she starts making her own decisions and demanding things be done her way.

I had a similar experience when writing “Monster Girl” and it caught me by surprise. Even though I do a lot of writing by-the-seat-of-my-pants, I do outline a little bit (mainly key events). Well, I was positive I knew how I wanted “Monster Girl” to end, but Viki, the main character, had other plans. If you’ve read “Monster Girl”, you’ll know that Viki likes to do what Viki likes to do and rarely listens to the grown ups around her. Including me!

I won’t spoil anything for you, but I had Viki walking down a path that was not in her best interest and she told me so. The lesson here is for us writers to listen to our characters. Sometimes, they know better what they want or how they should react than we do. By listening to Viki, the overall message of the book changed to one that not only makes much more sense for Viki’s character, but also one that I am much more proud of. I have my character’s hardheaded determination to thank for it!

I love hearing from you whether it’s about the subjects of my books or blog posts or writing in general! If you haven’t already, I personally invite you to join me on my literary journey. Some big news is coming soon and I’d love to share it with you directly! To start things off, I will send you a short story that I wrote that you can’t get anywhere else! Get it here!

*I recently watched Star Trek Generations again and for some reason that quote by Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) stood out.

Original “Viki” illustration by Victoria Skye Cleveland.

Val O. Morris likes to pretend the monsters aren’t real. She is a filmmaker turned author who writes Urban Fantasy, Horror, and YA. A Monster Kid since birth, she loves all things ghosts, goblins, slashers, demons, monsters, zombies, madmen, werewolves, vampires, and freaky little kids who live in the corn. She invites you to come for the monsters and stay for the story.