A Useful Mutiny
What are we to do with this stubborn character? The story is going swimmingly, one thing is flowing easily into the next, and then you come to some linchpin moment, a critical juncture where the story turns from beginning to middle, and suddenly, one character—never all of them mind you, just one mutinous character—digs her heels into the ground and won’t budge.
It makes no sense. She’d been along for the ride so far, she ate at every table, ran from every villain, kissed every prince, but now, for no logical reason, she won’t simply climb into the carriage and go to the ball. All the other characters are going to the ball. Why, in chapter four she even said she wanted to go to the ball. But every time you open the door to the carriage—nothing. She hates the carriage; wants nothing to do with it.
No matter, you’re the boss here. “I said get into that carriage and I mean it this time.” You stuff her in there. Only what’s happened? She’s not behaving like herself at all. She’s sitting obediently in your carriage, headed to your ball, but it’s as if she’s a Stepford Wife. Nothing she says makes any sense. And then you look back, and she’s still standing right where she was the last time she told you she wasn’t going to the ball.
Nothing to be done. As a parent I’ve tried telling my children they must do such-and-such, and sometimes they do, but I can’t make them like it. The mutinous characters are no different. This one just isn’t going to the ball. I suppose we’ll have to carry on without her.
But now that I think about it, her not being at the ball opens up some room for that relationship between the prince and Lady Thickford. See I’d forgotten about that. I’d been meaning to get them together but the moment was never right. And now it is.