->''"You know, sometimes people say to me, 'Why do you choose to write that creepy stuff?' And I usually say, 'What makes you think I have a choice?'"''
-->-- Creator/StephenKing

A step down from the LiteraryAgentHypothesis, this is an author who speaks about the events in thier stories as if they had no control over them. The author claims heartbreak when a character gets KilledOffForReal, commiserates with the fans over the ShipSinking, laments when CharacterDerailment strikes, and rants along with the fans at characters' WhatAnIdiot moments. Often becomes prominent when CerebusSyndrome strikes.

Justified to a certain extent: The RuleOfDrama dictates that what makes the best story isn't always the easiest thing to write. The author might ''know'' that killing off Bob is the most exciting/logical/dramatic/marketable course of action, but we can assume that as an author, he ''likes'' his character and will suffer a bit of heartache over it... heartache which is going to be magnified when the move proves to be extremely unpopular, or the fans react with horror and run away screaming, "[[FanonDiscontinuity That never happened]]!"

This approach also tends to make an author more accessible to fans, since he comes across as just one of the group. However, some fans will call "FridgeLogic!" by pointing out that if the author felt ''that'' badly about the turn of events, nobody forced him to write it that way (at least, [[ExecutiveMeddling we assume not]]). Writers may also risk making hypocrites of themselves if they then dictate exactly what happens in the universe and leave no room for fan speculation, beating down dissenters who write fanfic that goes against canon, or those who note that they preferred the story when it was cute and funny and Bob was still alive.

A writer who claims he just writes the thing usually takes one or both of two different forms:
* '''The Plot Gods Made Me Do It''': "The Plot" is an entity in itself which dictates the writer's actions. If a hale and hearty character succumbs to SoapOperaDisease and [[CharacterDeath dies]], if the HappilyMarried couple break up for no apparent reason, or [[CerebusSyndrome everything suddenly becomes very depressing]], this is generally the writer's response to fan disbelief. Tends to occur more with the aforementioned "depressing" turns of events; few people ever claim that The Plot demanded a marriage, lucky break or happy ending.
* '''The Characters Said So''': The characters have taken on lives of their own, and aren't above throwing a hissy fit if things don't go their way. The writer may be the ringmaster, but if the characters decide they're not going on stage, they're going to needle the writer until their terms and conditions are met.

Its also important to note that this is not necessarily a case of an author ''pretending'' to believe this. As a perusal of the real life section will demonstrate, many of the more successful authors have noted a tendency for their stronger works to "write themselves" in bursts of inspiration that they then simply scramble to write down before they forget the idea.

Creator/StephenKing, in fact, has mentioned a personal theory that in order to write a truly great work of fiction, an author ''must'' embrace this idea. His reasoning is that if a writer can convince themselves on some level, even briefly, that the world they are creating does in fact exist and is not completely within their control, a work ceases to be based purely on WishFulfillment and AuthorAppeal, and begins to tap into the subconscious and random passing thoughts of the author. At this point, a work becomes something that can ''legitimately'' surprise even the author, in the same way that a dream can surprise a dreamer. Characters do things that the author doesn't like, events happen ''because'' the author doesn't want them to happen, {{Author Phobia}}s leak into works that were supposed to be lighthearted comedies. At its best, the story is intuitive and satisfying, and the author is less inclined to [[CreatorsPet play favorites]] and fiddle with their AuthorPowers to craft {{Mary Sue}}s and {{Deus Ex Machina}}e where convenient.

See also WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants, which can lead to this. At its source, the DeathOfTheAuthor theory builds on a variant of this idea, that a writer is a "conduit" for a story, and when their work is done their opinion on it is no more important than any other reader's. Can also happen when itís not the plot or characters but the executives who demand a story be written a certain way, and the author has no choice but to comply- for that, see ExecutiveMeddling.

Compare DaydreamBeliever, when the fans take this to its logical conclusion and believe that the fictional characters ''literally'' exist somewhere out there.
!!Examples in fiction:


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'', the reason why Eiji Niizuma can formulate plots so quickly is apparently because he can "see his characters move on their own".
* ''Multiplication'' by Creator/ShintaroKago shows this in action. A single panel of normal {{Hentai}} is created, and other panels are spun off from it, but the nameless mangaka writing it keeps having to restart from the beginning after it spirals into BodyHorror and {{Gorn}}. (This may or may not be an explanation of the author's own [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs distinctive style]].)
* Amazingly PlayedForDrama in ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' - [[spoiler:The character Fakir is [[RealityWarper literally capable]] of RewritingReality by telling stories, but if he doesn't write well enough then his stories start conforming to reality instead of the other way around. In one instance he tries to write that monsters stopped attacking the main character...and finds he has to write that they kept attacking.]]

[[folder: Comics]]
* At the end of ''[[{{ComicBook/Cerebus}} Rick's Story]]'', Cerebus, after spending a entire decade in a bar (and more than two years in real life!) simply refuses to leave and do anything interesting, even at the urging of [[CreatorInsert Dave Sim]]. Eventually Jaka (or a [[EpilepticTrees Jaka simulacrum]]) has to show up and lure Cerebus away.

* ''Film/TheManWhoInventedChristmas'' show that the character-driven version was a major part of the creative process for Creator/CharlesDickens. At one point he even tells Scrooge that the characters should do what he wants them to do, since "I'm the author!" Scrooge's response is an amused denial.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Played with in ''Series/StargateSG1'' in the episode "Citizen Joe", where an ancient device allows an ordinary citizen to see the events in Jack O'Neil's life. He tells everyone around him about the stories and eventually starts writing them down and tries to get them published. When the people he's telling the stories to ask questions (hilariously similar to ones that Viewers or [[ExecutiveMeddling Executives]] might ask while watching the real show), Joe dismisses them because "that's how it really happened!" Of course, in his case, that really IS what happened.
* The Comic Relief ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' spoof "Uptown Downstairs Abbey" portrays Julian Fellowes this way, making something of a catchphrase out of "How do I do it?" He also protests that he can't do anything about an actress' issues with her character, because "I just do the silly writing."
* An episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' featured a playwright whose characters kept acting on their own until finally they walked into his room and started a conversation with him. [[spoiler: His wife is one... and so is [[BreakingTheFourthWall Rod Serling himself]].]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "The Mind Robber" ends in a confrontation between the Doctor and a Victorian children's author whose writing creates the universe they were in. Even though the writer claims to be in control, the Doctor points out that the story is controlling ''him'' in a way clearly reminiscent of this trope. The story's control over him is even represented as mechanical parts and the writer lapsing from his usual genial personality into RoboSpeak as he performs the story's bidding.

* In the ''Literature/AnneOfGreenGables'' books, Anne has expressed this mentality from time to time regarding her characters. Diana is mystified as to why a writer can't kill off one of their characters if it would serve dramatic purposes.
* In ''Literature/TheDarkHalf'', Thad comments in a journal entry that the characters in the novel he's writing insist on doing things he doesn't want them to do. Though when you consider the fact that the pen name Thad created ''became an actual person'', he might be telling the truth...
* Parodied in ''Literature/HowIBecameAFamousNovelist'', where Preston Brooks, a [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed famous author in-universe]], says I Just Write The Thing, and the main character takes it as a sign that Brooks is a particularly pretentious fake.
* This trope veers all over the place in Creator/JasperFforde's ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' books. Are the Bookworld characters just playing what the author wrote, or are they putting the original ideas into their mind? When you consider that Thursday [[spoiler:changes the end of JaneEyre]] it becomes even more confusing!

[[folder: Theatre]]
* ''Six Characters in Search of an Author'' by Luigi Pirandello dramatises the writing of a play and portrays an author's characters as driving his writing, including arguing about whether the setting is realistic, rather than having the author in full control.
* The narrator in ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'' has no more control over the events of the play than the characters, as proved when [[spoiler:they band together and kill him]].

[[folder: Web Original]]
* In ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', [[spoiler: WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic comes face-to-face with [[Creator/DougWalker his creator]]. The writer says that over time, the Critic evolved to the point that the writer only had to think about what the Critic would do, rather than writing wholly original scenes. Since the writer is essentially Creator/DougWalker as himself, this is probably the case in real life as well.]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', this is [[TheStoryteller Varric's]] response when Aveline asks how his city guard serial (which includes a character loosely based on her) is going to end. "The story will go where it wants to go. The characters drive it, not me." He reiterates the sentiment in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' when talking about his body of work in general, noting that "You don't really write a good story. It was there the whole time. You just uncover it."
* PlayedForDrama and [[AvertedTrope averted]] in ''VideoGame/AlanWake''. Writers who go to Cauldron Lake are struck with inspiration and make some of the best work of their careers, [[spoiler: but the lake houses the [[EldritchAbomination Dark Presence.]] It gives them the power to rewrite reality, but it's constantly trying to usurp the stories to free itself by forcing the writer to make stories where it wins or using plotholes. The book Alan is writing is the villain, so he has to figure out how to defeat his own plot.]]

!!Examples in real life:


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/YuriOnIce'': According to Kubo, her initial ideas were knocked off-track when [[spoiler:Yuri and Victor fell in love instead of keeping their relationship strictly as coach and skater as initially intended]], and certain plot points [[spoiler:such as the possibility of separating the pair at the end of the series]], no longer made any sense. In short, the characters hijacked the plot.
* Matsuri Akino, writer of ''Manga/PetShopOfHorrors'', often speaks of Leon and D as if they were real people in her commentaries. A skit featuring Leon's ADayInTheSpotlight chapter, ''Doom'' depicted the author as a director and the characters as increasingly disgruntled actors.
** In ''Kamen Tantei'', she made this the centre of a plot - an obsessed fan is furious that her favourite character has been PutOnABus. The writer tells her to get a grip, and maintains that after writing the series for such a long time, her role is simply to make sure the characters play nicely together - the plot writes itself. Was this a TakeThat to the author's real-life fans? Who knows, but the characters are pretty emphatic that there are forces beyond the writer's control at work.

* In some of the ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' books, Watterson speaks as if he's just letting Calvin run loose to see what he does.
** In the Tenth Anniversary collection, he says that he found Calvin and Susie's relationship initially to be too forced, and in the second arc he just let the characters bounce off one another. He further notes that he very nearly wrote himself into a corner doing that.
* Lynn Johnston often used this when discussing ''ComicStrip/ForBetterOrForWorse''. Dissenters consider this her way of abdicating responsibility for poor narrative decisions, but you can definitely see how characters would take on lives of their own after nearly 30 years.
* Creator/PeterDavid was once asked why he wrote a particular rape scene in an issue of ''[[Comicbook/{{Aquaman}} The Atlantis Chronicles]]''. His response? "Because that's what happened." He steadfastly rejects any suggestion that he was ultimately in control of the plot.
* The ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' writers in the 70's killed off Gwen Stacy because the only logical way her relationship with Peter Parker could go would be to get married, and that would age him more than than they wanted. When asked why they had written their relationship into such a dead end in the first place, this was their explanation.
* Creator/MarkEvanier said this about [=DNAgents=], and how it was just like many of the times while writing the WesternAnimation/BugsBunny comic book.

* [[Creator/ThatPersonYouMightKnow [=ThatPersonYouMightKnow=]]] honestly hated killing off beloved characters in ''Fanfic/TheLionKingAdventures'', such as [[spoiler: Tojo, Tama and Haiba]]. But the story necessitated that they had to die.
* @/LadyNorbert maintains that everything she writes, though most especially her fanfic, is the result of a combination of this trope and WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants.
* Creator/NimbusLlewelyn has similarly remarked that while he tends to have a sketched outline of a grand plan, the details are often subject to change, [[WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants usually at the last minute.]] He's also noted that several things, including [[spoiler: the budding romances between Uhtred and Jean-Paul, and Harry Dresden and Wanda Maximoff, in ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'']] took him entirely by surprise.
* One of Creator/AAPessimal's most finely-realised characters was only ever meant to appear in one story as an expansion of a one-line placeholder in canon. She was originally intended to be a rather stroppy "[[AmoralAfrikaner South African]]" who took all the NationalStereotypes of "White South African-ness" UpToEleven in a Discworld context, and, very deliberately, be hard for the reader to like or sympathise with. And that would have been it. Only... as WordOfGod has it, this [[FieryRedhead late-entry Assassin]] ended up standing behind Pessimal with a very large blade at his neck, demanding he write her more sympathetically and make her more of an ActionGirl heroine. Thus, the nineteen-year old new arrival in Ankh-Morpork evolved over a series of tales into a more mellow forty-something mother of three daughters. And her family started to appear in such numbers that the author realised he'd better make an effort to learn ''some'' Afrikaans and not keep winging it.

* Even though Talia Shire was perfectly willing to return as Adrian in ''Film/RockyBalboa'', Creator/SylvesterStallone came to the conclusion during the scriptwriting that it would make more of a emotional impact if the character had died between ''Film/RockyV'' and ''Film/RockyBalboa''. They even made a public statement about it, to make sure that it wasn't mistaken for a falling out between them.
* When discussing ''Film/DragMeToHell'', Creator/SamRaimi [[https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20100102081824/http://screencrave.com/2009-05-27/sam-raimi-interview-for-drag-me-to-hell states]] that while in his view the CruelTwistEnding [[KarmicTwistEnding was earned by the protagonist]], "Maybe she was a little over punished. I wouldnít have been as harsh personally." But this also showed how she is relatable because Raimi himself is flawed like her - "I wish I had more noble problems. Sheís such an awful character, itís really embarrassing. Thatís how writers work I think."

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* This, and TrueArtIsAngsty, tends to be Creator/JossWhedon's justification for killing off any of his characters. [[SignatureStyle He's gotten rather known for it.]]
* The writers of ''Series/TheWire'' said as much about [[spoiler: the death of Stringer Bell.]]
* J. Michael Straczynski has said that whenever he got stuck writing ''Series/BabylonFive'', he'd just sit back and let the characters tell him what to do. In particular, he says that the part of his brain that speaks for Vir had the idea that [[spoiler: Vir should kill Cartagia; he had planned on Londo doing it.]]
** Sometimes Joe would take the wheel despite the characters' wishes. He claims that all of them stopped what they were doing in his head and gave him a WhatTheHellHero when he killed off [[spoiler: Emperor Turhan.]]

* Creator/TamoraPierce
** In the Literature/TortallUniverse, leading lady Alanna was apparently so annoyed at marrying Jonathan and being made queen that she demanded her writer ''go back and rewrite half the book''.
** Similarly, Lord Wyldon of Cavall's reaction to being written as a villain was, "No." Cue an EnsembleDarkhorse JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
** Evvy, the stone mage from the second Circle series made Tamora Pierce change the entire plot because she didn't like the teacher she was supposed to go learn from.
* The "omnipotent plot" example is played with humourously with Lemony Snickett's ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''. He's [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis supposedly narrating]] the thing, so naturally he expresses great sympathy and regret during the horrible events that occur within the book.
* Creator/TerryPratchett has often remarked that his characters take on lives of their own, and how they turn out quite differently from how he originally envisioned them.
** Vimes began as simply a placeholder character in ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'' to [[DecoyProtagonist tell the story in Ankh-Morpork until Carrot got there]], and ended up basically [[SpotlightStealingSquad taking over the Watch series]]. This mirrors his in-universe CharacterDevelopment, where he's gone from a drunken beat cop to an intercontinental MemeticBadass.
** Also notable is the true identity of Ronnie Soak. Pratchett found out about it about the same time the characters did.
** Also referenced in ''Discworld/EqualRites'':
-->Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author's control. They might.
** The Assassins' Exam sequence in ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}'' apparently appeared in a haze of creativity using authors' autopilot
** According to the afterword of ''Literature/GoodOmens'', which he co-wrote with Creator/NeilGaiman, one of them congratulated the other on a bit both were absolutely sure they didn't write. They suspected the book had begun writing itself when they weren't looking.
** He also occasionally referred to the "much better writer" who used his brain while he was asleep, and occasionally left fragments of an idea behind.
* Creator/JodiPicoult would call up her friends to update them on what exciting things her characters were doing.
* Creator/StephenKing,
** This is a running theme in the final arc of ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series. The author shows how real the story is by giving the characters so much life that he himself appears as a character. It works partly because he's distinctly unflattering to himself. In the [[Literature/TheWindThroughTheKeyhole final book]], he starts leaving the characters little notes in medicine cabinets as an acknowledged deus ex machina -- he knows what happens and so can warn them, but says repeatedly that he's sure as hell not making it happen.
** This is King's usual style of writing--put people with certain personalities in certain situations, then extrapolate what they would do. In ''On Writing'' he compares it to digging something up rather than making it. (He can write in the "make it up" style, but with the exception of ''Literature/TheDeadZone'' he usually dislikes the results.)
* Jonathon Stroud, author of ''Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy'', said he experimented with various endings, but only one was truthful to the story and the characters. [[spoiler: In the end Nathaniel, one of the main characters, dies.]]
* T.S. Eliot wrote entire essays based around the belief that writing is fundamentally intellectual, not passionate, and the author is simply a vessel for the work. This was a rebellion against the Romantic poets who claimed that all work comes from the author's heart and thus there is no "impersonal" writing.
* From her series ''Literature/ConfessionsOfGeorgiaNicolson'', Louise Rennison often speaks of Georgia this way - although given that she's stated that Georgia is [[AuthorAvatar the writer herself]] as a teenager, the character technically ''is'' a real person.
* Creator/JKRowling
** The Plot Gods made a decision that she claimed made her cry while writing the deaths of [[spoiler:Sirius and Dumbledore]]. She went ahead because that was what the plot demanded.
** She said that she changed her mind about killing one character because she couldn't bear to kill them. The theory goes that [[spoiler:Nagini's attack on Arthur Weasley]] in the fifth book would have been fatal. However, as a bit of compensation, Rowling stated that saving [[spoiler: Arthur]] might have had an influence in her decision to kill off [[spoiler: Lupin and Tonks]]. In other words, the Plot Gods demand a sacrifice; [[BalancingDeathsBooks if one is spared another must take their place.]]
* In the Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse book ''Who Killed Kennedy'', a number of [[MindRape extremely]] [[BreakTheCutie unpleasant]] [[BackForTheDead things]] [[StuffedIntoTheFridge happen]] to Dodo, a former companion of the Doctor. In the author's [[http://nzdwfc.tetrap.com/archive/wkk/commentary11.html commentary]], he puts the blame for this on ''Dodo herself'':
-->What happens to Dodo is probably one of the more controversial aspects of ''Who Killed Kennedy''. She was a late addition to the cast of the cast and was originally only going to appear in this chapter, passing on information to Stevens. But once she appeared on the page Dodo wanted to stick around. It's a strange experience when a character takes charge of their own destiny while you're writing and Dodo was the first time this had happened to me.
* Creator/MatthewReilly claims to be constrained by AnyoneCanDie. According to interviews, he had a hard time killing off [[spoiler:Elizabeth Gant]], but forced himself to go through with the scene to keep the audience in suspense that the main characters might not make it.
* Creator/RayBradbury has said that his characters take on a life of their own, and he often learns new things from them that even he didn't know about. He also criticised the idea that the writer is the boss
--> '''Interviewer''': I remember listening to a writer talk about her characters once. She said that she was the boss, and they were puppets: they went exactly where she told them, did what she ordered them to do...
--> '''Ray Bradbury''': You can't do that. That's bad writing. They must write you. They must control you. They plot me. I never control. I let them have their lives.
--> '''IV''': Is that leap of faith scary?
--> '''RB''': No, it's wonderful. I love my characters. I trust them.
* In ''Literature/TheCanterburyTales'', Chaucer apologizes for having to record [[ToiletHumor The Miller's Tale]].
** Which is HilariousInHindsight, because the Miller's Tale is one of the stories that people like the most, even today, precisely ''because'' of the crude humor. It's just great to go into what you think is going to be tedious old literature, and get a story about LiteralAssKissing.
* Ryohgo Narita, the author of LightNovel/{{Baccano}}, says that the plot changes according to the characters' "movements". In particular, he calls [[AxCrazy Claire]] [[ChaoticNeutral Stanfield]] the "number one problem child" for moving around too much and leaving the plot of the third novel "in ruins".
* Creator/SandyMitchell on his character Literature/CiaphasCain, THE HERO OF THE IMPERIUM:
--> Is he really the cowardly scoundrel he paints himself to be, or far more courageous than he gives himself credit for? To be perfectly honest, I don't really know, although I suspect a little of both; but that's one of the real joys of a writer's life. I may have invented him in the first place, inspired to some extent by Harry Literature/{{Flashman}} and Edmund Series/{{Blackadder}}, but by now he's become enough of a personality in his own right to keep surprising me, and long may he continue to do so.
** This is also self-admittedly how he finds his plots: he envisions a suitably [[{{Spectacle}} spectacular]] climax, puts Cain in it, and retraces his steps to figure out ''why'' and ''how'' Cain got there.
* Creator/GeorgeRRMartin says as much when asked about [[WhamEpisode the Red Wedding]] in ''[[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire A Storm of Swords]]'', even that he put off writing the scene until the rest of the novel was finished.
** Real-life con response from 2003 when asked why he kills so many of his characters: "I don't. They kill each other."
* Towards the end of Creator/RoaldDahl's Henry Sugar story, Dahl/the narrator goes off on a tangent about how the story would end if it were just a story being written by some guy. But since it's a TRUE STORY he goes on to explain that's NOT what happens and details the actual not-quite-an-ending (ie Life goes on) that "really happened"
* Creator/StephenieMeyer uses the Characters Said So version of this.
* Thomas Harris used this as an excuse for the ending of ''Literature/{{Hannibal}},'' citing the old story of the sultan who said, "I do not ''keep'' falcons; they ''live'' with me."
** In his introduction to a later addition of the trilogy he also describes being a spectator to Graham's first meeting with Lecter, and being surprised when Lecter identifies Graham by smell, suggesting that the character had taken on a life of his own before the author even "met" him.
* Creator/AynRand, believe it or not. She said that Tony's (the Wet Nurse's) final actions in ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'' came as a surprise to her.
* According to her biography, ''Dragonholder'', Creator/AnneMcCaffrey was this type of writer. The biographer (her son and later co-author, Todd) recounts an incident when Anne's then-husband found her weeping over the fate of one of her protagonists, and she explained that she just killed off her hero. He suggested that since she was the author, she could change it, and she replied, "No, I had to. That's how the story goes." Todd observes in the narrative that his father's inability to respect Anne's creative process was a strong indication of why their marriage eventually fell apart.
* Creator/DennisLehane explains the 11-year gap between novels in the Literature/KenzieAndGennaroSeries as the result of the lead character, Patrick, refusing to talk to him for that amount of time.
* ''Literature/HowNOTToWriteANovel'' advises against using this trope as an excuse ("The Fig Leaf"). If you don't agree with what you are writing, you should not complain about it or not write it. And if you ''do'' agree with it, protesting otherwise will most likely not work and will just make you look like a hypocrite.
* Creator/DouglasAdams once described the difficult process of converting the film script ''Series/DoctorWho and the Krikketmen'' into ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' novel ''Literature/LifeTheUniverseAndEverything'', by saying he sat the main characters down, explained the plot to them, and none of them seemed at all interested.
* Creator/JRRTolkien often remarked that at several points in the composition of ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', he felt as though he were discovering the plot rather than creating it, and often had to wait a long time until he could figure out "what ''really'' happened"; he didn't know, for example, that the character of Faramir was even going to be in the story until the chapter that introduced him.
* Creator/PatriciaCWrede has commented that the plot outline for ''Literature/TheRavenRing'' looked rather different than the version she wound up writing, because about halfway through one of the characters flatly refused to do what he was supposed to do, and by the time the scene was over the story had gone down a completely different path.
* The academic introductions to several Creator/EmileZola novels explain he saw his work as a "social experiment" with him only writing down what the characters would do in that situation.
* Creator/AgathaChristie once commented that she hated Literature/HerculePoirot, but he made it clear she couldn't just get rid of him.
* In an [=FAQ=] for ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'', Creator/RickRiordan said that Nico [[spoiler:being gay and having a crush on Percy]] wasn't as much something he planned as something that became more and more obvious as he was writing.
* In ''The Mind of the Maker'', Creator/DorothyLSayers writes:
-->[T]he free will of a genuinely created character has a certain reality, which the writer will defy at his peril. It does sometimes happen that the plot requires from its characters certain behavior, which, when it comes to the point, no ingenuity on the author's part can force them into, except at the cost of destroying them.
** Elsewhere, Sayers notes that this was why Harriet Vane did ''not'' fall into Lord Peter Wimsey's arms at the end of ''Strong Poison'', but rather took several more books to agree to marry him.
* Creator/JoWalton has said that she's tried writing a sequel to ''Among Others'', and that she has a pretty good idea what Mori does next; but that after the traumatic events she's already lived through, Mori seems to be deliberately steering clear of anything that might turn into an Adventure, which means there's nothing to write a novel about.
* In her essay ''My Friend Mr Campion'', Margery Allingham wrote that Literature/AlbertCampion just appeared at the dinner table in ''The Crime at Black Dudley'', and she had no idea who he was or what he was doing there, which was annoying as that was very much not the way she normally wrote.
* Ben Aaronovitch on ''Literature/RiversOfLondon'': "What usually happens is I start writing and the characters start going off in all sorts of directions, and I'm going 'No! Get back to the plot, you bastards!'" He also [[http://temporarilysignificant.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/spontaneous-character-creation.html describes]] how a character can exist just to say a line or something, and then an entire backstory and personality appears from nowhere and you've got to rewrite the rest of the story to fit them.
-->Which is why, sometimes, when people ask me where the series is going the only answer I can give is Ė beats me mate, I just work here.
* Creator/SarahAHoyt [[https://madgeniusclub.com/2016/08/17/when-the-gate-opens/ stated]] that stories tend to just leap into her head, usually at rather inopportune times, and refuse to go away.
* Indie writer Kate Paulk, in [[https://madgeniusclub.com/2013/05/02/pantsers-guide-to-getting-unstuck/ one blog post]], uses this to describe her characters:
-->...youíve probably also got at least one irritated character because you wrote them doing something they didnít do, so Ė of course Ė they donít want to talk to you (Avoiding this is why I mentally rehearse multiple options before I actually write the scene. Usually, anyway. Sometimes they just push it on me then cuss me out because they got it wrong or they want a rewrite. Demanding [=SOBs=]).

[[folder:Roleplaying Games]]
* In the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'' RPG, it's recommended that the GM ''not'' include Miles Vorkosigan as an NPC. "If you include him, he'll try to take over the plot from the [=PCs=]. If he doesn't try to take over the plot, you're not doing him right."
* [[https://bad-rpers-suck.livejournal.com/8254541.html This post]] (and its comments) from the Livejournal community bad_rpers_suck discusses the thin line between roleplayers who feel that their character has taken on a "life" of its own... and people who go full DaydreamBeliever, seriously believing their characters are fully real and interfering with their life.

* A minor example: Creator/LinManuelMiranda once complained that he had to go learn French because "[[Theatre/{{Hamilton}} Lafayette]] wants to rap in French. Dammit, Lafayette."

* Tom Siddell, creator of ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'', does a less emotionally invested version of this, which is pretty distinctive, as most examples of this trope are a ''result'' of the author's emotional investment with both the characters and the fans. The commentaries of GC often sound like someone standing on the sidelines, watching things happen and delivering the occasional TakeThat against the 'shippers.
* Sandra K. Fuhr. the creator of ''Webcomic/BoyMeetsBoy,'' ''Webcomic/FriendlyHostility'' and ''Webcomic/OtherPeoplesBusiness'', employs both character and plot versions of the trope, often speaking of the characters as if they were friends who don't tell her everything that goes on in their lives and who she often eventually loses contact with. Years after BMB ended, she "supposes" that Mik and Harley are still happy together (although that may be a quick answer for a [[OldShame disliked topic]]). In ''OPB'', this enables still more mystery, since it's a bit of a MindScrew with more than one UnreliableNarrator ? and practically guarantees that there will be no unilaterally happy endings. Particularly notable is that despite the "I Just Write the Thing" attitude, Fuhr is extremely organised and writes her storylines months, if not years, in advance.
** This led to some FlipFlopOfGod at the end of ''Webcomic/FriendlyHostility'' however; many fans claimed that the BittersweetEnding was the only believable outcome for the CerebusSyndrome plot and [[CharacterDevelopment increasingly distraught]] Fox and Collin (and thus the ending was written to suit the characters). However, later the author claimed that she had ''Other People's Business'' in mind for at least two years, and had actually spent the final years of ''Friendly Hostility'' dismantling the formerly perfect relationship to pave the way for the sequel comic (and so the characters were changed to enable the plot).
* Sage Leaves, the author of ''Webcomic/{{Blip}}'', frequently posts in TheRant to say how much they disagree with a character's TakeThat against a rock band or recent movie.
* Jeph Jacques of ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent''.
-->'''Jeph:''' God damn it, [[{{CloudcuckooLander}} Emily]], I keep trying to [[http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2251 write comics that do not feature you]] and you [[SpotlightStealingSquad keep stealing the scene.]]
* Dan Shive, the author of ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' frequently uses TheRant to post disagreements that he had with his characters over a particular strip. This is usually simply complaining about [[http://egscomics.com/?date=2008-04-21 his characters ruining a perfectly good dramatic moment,]] but sometimes it is as extreme as him actually [[http://egscomics.com/?date=2010-07-23 losing an argument with one of his characters.]] While this is generally humorous, he has also noted one occasion when [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=1275 a character arc moved in a direction he hadn't expected, simply because that was what was right for the characters]].
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/TerrorIsland'', where the writers claim that their [[InsistentTerminology theorems]] are logically derived from universal axioms and they have no control over their content.
* TheRant under one strip of ''[[http://as.crowdedstreet.net/Something/ Burning Stickman Presents...Something!]]'' notes that the author had intended for the strip to end a certain way, but then "the comic decided otherwise."
* ''Webcomic/OneOverZero'', being the NoFourthWall comic that it is, has many instances like this. For example, the characters going on strike: refusing to move or act or think until the author agrees to their demands! For a comic like 1/0, you basically have to assume that the author has no control over his characters at all.
** It's stated in-universe. The author created the characters with their personalities, and he lets those personalities run the show, allowing the story to develop on it's own without the author inserting any external events. This tendency is called into focus when the characters threaten to conduct scientific tests of how their universe works, forcing the author to come up with consistent rules for the laws of reality of the comic. The author strikes a deal with them to prevent them from forcing him to make up more things about the setting.
* ''Webcomic/{{Sonichu}}'' author Christian Chandler really does believe that the characters he uses exist in some sort of alternate reality. He has apparently even "spoken" to some of them in real life. Being forced to kill off a character was what led to his final CreatorBreakdown when he stopped making comics.
* R.K. Milholland of ''Webcomic/SomethingPositive'' also plots out events years ahead of time or has notes of events he intends to do at certain points. Some of those get shelved because the characters moved in a different direction that doesn't work anymore.
* Jennifer Diane Reitz claims that most of the plot of ''Webcomic/UnicornJelly'' came to her in visions. This is also her explanation for why the ending is somewhat disjointed - she got that vision ahead of schedule after wondering aloud how it was going to end, and could only remember pieces of it afterwards.
* K. Lin, author of Institute of Metaphysics, talks about how a character "mentally strong-armed" her into writing one of the story arcs [[http://iofm.comicgenesis.com/d/20111115.html here.]]
* In the sixth print collection of ''Webcomic/DumbingOfAge'', David Willis mentions that Carla effectively wrested control of the plotline involving [[spoiler: Ruth's depression]] from him. Once she knew how bad things had gotten, he couldn't think of any in-character response besides her blowing up the secret.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* No matter what PlayByPost roleplay you play, you will ALWAYS stumble across one of these guys.
* Any form of role-playing (forum- and journal- based games ''especially'') has a tendency to induce this, as a character may be created with a specific personality and goal in mind but will become unintentionally more or less sympathetic depending on other characters, players, etc. Many characters evolve past their original write-up, either because the character's "voice" becomes clearer or the player plays this trope. This can lead to unfortunate situations in which players are unable to release even characters slated to die by WordOfGod.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Creator/GregWeisman, creator of ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', has recounted a few plot points in this fashion. In particular, the revelation that [[spoiler:Puck is Owen]] came in a flash of "so ''that's'' it!" rather than "wouldn't it be neat if...?"
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckAmuck'' begins with Daffy Duck in full Musketeers garb jumping into action. Director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese had no idea what to do after that, so they pull the scenery away and substitute it with a barnyard scenario, then an Arctic scene, then a Hawaiian Island. Daffy adapts to each of these, and it's only the first two minutes of the cartoon.