Have you ever stood in a crowd of people? Perhaps at a party or a sports event--anywhere. You're talking to one particular person, maybe the one you came with but for some reason your attention keeps getting diverted. You start noticing that other man or woman standing nearby. The one who has a way with his words, or a certain way he reacts--with an engaging smile or an infectious laugh.
You turn from who you are supposed to be giving all your attention to in order to listen to them.
On Monday as I sat in the waiting room while my husband had his surgery, (thank you for all your prayers! He's on the mend.) I pulled out The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. I'd purchased the book so it would arrive in time for me to read that day.
As I read the chapter about our heroes and protagonists, I finally figured out why I kept turning away from my main character in my current WIP. I figured out why the other character kept grabbing my attention.
He needed to be the main character. He exhibits the possiblity of hero qualities. Not the whiny woman who I thought I could transform. He isn't pefect but he's the one I relate to most.
Ok so that means some heavy revisions but I'm glad I listened. I'm glad I caught my problem at 16,000 words rather than later.
Are you listening to your characters--to your heart--to what your instincts are telling you about them? Have you had to make some major character changes early on?