When Writing Your Characters Feels More Like Herding Kittens

I love the research at the beginning of a book.  I want to find pictures of my character, write out a detailed chart with things like funniest joke, or ironic trait, or what’s in their pocket, and I want to know they are opposites.  I like the duality of people.  We love what we like least about ourselves.  It’s so telling.

My current cast of characters can’t seem to stop misbehaving.  If there is a way for them to screw up a conversation, throw out the conflict, or just not show up at all, they do it.  Every single blessed time.  I’m not kidding about thinking about killing off the hero.  He’s unpredictable as hell.  I am wondering if when I go back for edits I will find he’s not in character all the time.

My heroine grew a pair of brass balls a few chapters ago, but her spunk sometimes feels like it comes off so sarcastic it’s actually caustic, and I really don’t know what to do about it. 

I’m on a train traveling alongside the Hudson River in New York.  Everything is green, vibrant and the water sparkles.  I based some of my fictional world in the current book on the terrain up here after my last trip.  I couldn’t resist.  It’s stunning. 

Old architecture mixed with the new and nothing but sun and blue sky.  Does it get any better than this? 

Yes, it’s supposed to get better than this in my book!  My characters are supposed to make that world come alive.  My readers as well as myself are supposed to feel as good as I do if not better as I stare at the sailboats cruising the rippling river. 

So why does it always feel like I am herding kittens?  Of baby ducks or something? 

Why the heck can’t the characters stay in the little box houses I made for them and bloody well do what I need them to do?

Part of me suspects my subconscious knows something I don’t.  Perhaps what I want to happen isn’t as good as what can happen if I just take a detour with my heroine.  I might be finding some of her new attitude over the top, but maybe that’s the point.  She’s overcompensating or trying on a new self as she tries to figure out what the heck to do with this relationship in front of her.

I don’t have all the answers here.  I would love to hear what some of you are doing to make things a little less hectic when you sit down to the page.  Do scene card. I have a story bible. Charts, graphs, and probably tons of nonsense in my research folder. 

Not sure it matters how prepared you are if what you are doing isn’t actually working.  I keep trying to remind myself the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I think I will stare out the window some more and see if I get inspired.  Maybe I can write a great scene while I take in all the bounty nature has to offer me right outside.