This topic doesn’t make me think of the holidays, but Ado Annie in Oklahoma “Jest a girl who cain’t say no” . Just in case you’ve forgotten the words --
Annie couldn’t say no to men. But most of us, especially if the US is female, seem to have a hard time admitting that we can’t do everything and an even harder time disappointing friends and family. In the past few years there have been innumerable books, videos, call -in programs and blogs, telling us that for our own self preservation, we have to learn to say no. This may be sensible in daily life. Doormats get stepped on. But what about characters in our work who dig in their heels and refuse to go along with the plan?
To them, I think we just have to say, "yes". OK, maybe I invented you but you seem to know yourself pretty well and if you want to fall in love with a totally inappropriate person then who am I to say you can't? I once had a character set up to be the murderer but he wouldn't confess. Finally, I went back and read the early chapters and, darn it, he was innocent. So I apologized and let him get on with his life. Of course, then I had to find the real villain and it entailed a certain amount of work, but I think the book was better for it.
Actually, it might be a good idea to practice saying 'yes' more often. Start with imaginary people and work up through family and friends to strangers. Yesterday I asked a passer-by to help push my car off the ice. I'd still be in a parking lot if he had said, "No, I'm wearing good clothes. I'm running late. I might strain my back." Instead he pushed the car off the ice.
So, while I don't recommend using Ado Annie as a role model, sometimes saying 'yes' to a stranger or 'yes' to an independent fictional person, might make the book and even the world, a bit better.