Characters Behaving Badly

My favourite book is one I read as a kid – called Ariel, Zed and the Secret of Life by Anna Feinberg. Without giving too much away, it’s about a young girl named Ariel whose mother is an author.

The story has a slight magic twist, however, because the characters she writes about come to life and stay with Ariel and her family. Sometimes, the characters refuse to behave, and authors send them off to the mysterious Island.

Ariel is, by all accounts, a bit of a misfit. She’s at an awkward age and nothing is really working for her socially or at school. In some ways, we’re all just a little bit Ariel.

first draft Anyway, this image and memories of the book always give me a frustrated smile when my own characters aren’t behaving. It’s strange how your own characters, the ones you’ve brought to life, can gradually stray off course until one day you’re thinking about where your writing is at and you just think “Wait a minute… What?!”

Writing Barricade has been a whirlwind, crazy unplanned kind of adventure. The book I was writing before zombies infiltrated my world had a lot more planning, down to pictures, maps, sketches – the whole lot. So in a lot of ways, Barricade has thrown me off track a little bit.

I hope, though, that it gives it some… Charm is definitely not the right word, but something genuine that adds to the frenzied feeling of their environment – crazy, rushed, dangerous. Panicked.

Still, even in that hurried state, I sometimes find myself ‘looking’ at the characters and wanting to ask them, “Why have you done this to me? This wasn’t the plan!”


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