I'd like to say it's not the characters, that it's just me. But no... I really feel like it's the characters. They were the ones who came to me in my sleep (my sleep, let me emphasize) and told me their story. Got me all excited about writing their journey.
With this excitement I spent all this time outlining their story. I thought I knew them. I thought I knew where they were going. I thought I... well, I could go on and on with all the crap I thought I knew.
The truth is, they tricked me. They always trick me.
The characters are always like, "Oh yeah, AR. Really this is my journey. It's not difficult, not complex. Just a straight story."
And I'm always like, "Really? That's great!"
Then weeks later the truth hits and the characters snicker evilly in my head, "Sucker!"
With this, I grumble, "Yeah. I know."
But by this time I'm all in. The story is driving my brain. Multiple people (fictional people, not other AR personalities... I'm not crazy, really) are yelling at me to "get it right". I fight to understand the true meanings and themes. I struggle to know the villain beyond just a corny vague monologue.
I quest to know their world.
I get so frustrated I want to scream... and then I veg out on the couch with a Star Trek marathon. The characters, nervous at the prospect of being tossed into the permanent "draft" folder, give me a piece of the puzzle.
Admittedly, at this tiny act of peace offering I ignore and continue with my vegging... maybe moving over to Star Wars (4, 5, 6, then 1, 2, 3, thank you very much). Hey, don't blame me. These fictional folks know I have a stubborn streak. I mean, they live in my head and have first hand visual of this characteristic and all.
Now my characters are panicking and release another piece and another until my juices are up again and I'm typing away.
This could be it, but no. This cycle lasts a good 4-6 months until a draft is complete.
And then the whole revision and editing hell - er - phase begins.