A few weeks ago, I ran into a road block. The story I was working on had a problem: the characters and plot were not going together. My characters were well developed and ready but the plot I had didn't fit them. Debating I wondered if I needed to change my plot or change my characters. I expressed the problem to some others and they suggested that my characters might be leading me elsewhere.
I pondered this. I am new to writing stories but the idea that my characters might have their own voices bothered me. I had created them. I had their story planned but why wouldn't they comply? Then I ran across this quote from William Faulkner,
"It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does."
Considering my characters this way helped a lot. I needed to let them speak. I needed to let them tell their story. I could have continued to try to force my characters to comply but all it did was frustrate me. After some playing and trying different things I began to write the story they were telling. Its not what I thought it would be nor do I know were it is going.
It may sound odd but its like having a friend share their own story instead of hoping they would share yours. I didn't know that this could happen but if Faulkner experienced this, I must be in good company. The road block has been destroyed all because I let them speak.