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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

When the Characters Become the Author

Or maybe it's 'when the author becomes the characters.' Either way, it's an amazing experience.

Last night I was working on writing my next book which is about the coming of age of a young rat. I’d written myself notes on how the current part of the story would go and believed writing would be a simple matter. And it was, but in an unexpected way.

Nearly as soon as I’d begun, Scarlet (the young rat) and Morgana (an elder local naturalist rat with an interest in all things spiritual) took the story into their own paws. I wasn’t conscious of where we were headed, but I knew my notes were totally worthless and the story would go where the rats wanted it to.

In the end, I think they created a much better story than I’d planned. The whole experience was amazing, wonderful, like magic!

I’ve heard other writers talk of the same phenomenon, but it’s only happened to me once before, at the very end of the second Milkweed Manor book, Dark Days at Milkweed Manor. I hadn’t written notes, but I ‘knew’ exactly what would happen next. Well, Roxanne the raccoon took over. (the picture is an illustration from that part of the book.) Her words flowed from my fingers, yielding a much better story than the one I was aiming at. Another magical experience which I’ll remember always.

I hope you’ve had such experiences, and I’d love to hear about them.

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