I enjoyed Allison's post about characters, especially the bit where she said something about having to let her characters grow up, and give up control.
Frankly, I'm amazed at authors who talk about making their characters do things. I've been asked to give workshops on creating characters. And I have realized--now that I have attempted to do it twice--that I have absolutely no clue how I create characters. It's such a subconscious process, that I discover them, more than create them. They're new people that I have to get to know, not characters I consciously "create." Which is probably why those charts and things don't work very well for me.
And it's probably why I have absolutely no control over my characters whatsoever.
They won't even let me name them. (Yes, I'm whining now.) I have to wait and use my development notes or my "morning pages" (which are written just as often in the evening as in the morning) to see what name bubbles up out of my swamp. Sometimes the characters come strolling out and hand me the name as they present themselves to me with a demand that I tell their story. If they won't let me name them, they certainly won't let me dictate behavior.
In my book, The Barbed Rose (Blog Break for Shameless Self-promotion: on the shelves Now, from LUNA Books, ISBN 0-373-80225-0, second in The One Rose Trilogy: End Break) I spent several months begging and pleading that my characters not make me write certain scenes. I mean, my Dad reads my books. That's worse than my Mom reading them. But no, they ignored me completely and went off and did whatever they wanted. Several times. And again for good measure.
But I wouldn't trade anything for the bunch of lunatics that live in my swamp. They might be completely out of my control, but they're a whole lot of fun. I just try to keep up with them.