"Blow it out your nose, author-boy."
Do characters really write themselves? The kids in Elf-Help seem to have a life of their own, and there are characters scattered throughout my short stories that fit the bill. With others it's more of a negotiation: "All right, do this one thing I need you to do in order to advance the plot, and I'll let you mock the protagonist for two pages."
Consider this impromptu flash piece by author John Hocking:
Blargh the Inconsequential hefted his battle ax and snorted heartily as he thought ahead to the battle in which he would shortly partake."
Arrgh," quoth he, "the Gerberainians will shortly feel the sting of my mighty ax!"His mighty-thewed body hummed with battle-readiness, for it is the way of the warriors of Gooberainia to ever yearn for the bright face of danger!
"What in nine purple hells are you nattering on about?"
"Enough of this nonsense! This is surely the weakest example of third person omniscient I've had forced upon me since Kilgore Trout wrote those pastiches about the Kangaroo Phantoms. Enough!"
Uh. Suddenly Blargh felt unsteady, as if his will was failing, trapped by the wiles of some mighty sorcerer!
"The hell you say! And what's with all the sentences beginning with 'suddenly'? Come to think of it, how the hell does one 'snort heartily' as you bade me do in the first sentence?"
Unconsciousness swept over Blargh in a black curtain of oblivion and he fell to the earth senseless!
"Blow it out your nose, author-boy. Your prose is worse than your plotting. And the good parts aren't even original. Don't think I didn't notice the 'bright face of danger' swipe from Max Brand."
Blargh's face went pale as a crossbow quarrel swept out of nowhere and transfixed his heart!
"Nice try, adipose one, but you should recall that a death threat made to a Gooberainian is always repaid sevenfold. Eat steel, pulp hack!
I shook back my mane, flexed my massive thews and wrenched my blade from the pathetically narrow skull of my foe. Triumphant yet again, I returned to my sprawling palace, where rich wine, thick steaks and lissome, willing dancing girls awaited me.
Check out Flashing Swords for more of John's fiction.