Out of character

Have you ever had the feeling that one of your characters wasn’t who you thought they were?

That they were misleading you, perhaps? That you were writing them under false pretenses?

That you would have to toss all dialogue, physical description and internal monologue and start over, once you figured out who this character really was?

In my case, it’s more of a what. Because picture book characters don’t necessarily have to be human (neither do grown-up book characters, but their humanness is generally more likely), and this one particular character might — possibly — have hooves and fur.

It could make sense. The guy doesn’t talk much.

I do feel bad about it. The way I’d originally conceived the character, he wasn’t meant to be chatty. He seems to have made his own choices here, though. Who am I to stand in the way of a fictional person’s self-actualization?

So I’ll try another version of this story in which the character … maybe … should be something else. And I’ll see how well that works. You have to indulge your characters once in a while.

Have you had similar philosophical differences with your characters?