How? Simply by being there. Because sometimes when I'm ordering them around they talk back and thats when the other shoppers in aisle 12 or at the gas pump take a few steps back.
Take the book recently finished revisions on. I've known since I started revisions that the Hero loses a little of his character near the mid-point. Oh, it's not that he does a 180 and begins acting like another character, he just lost his mojo...and it was driving me crazy. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what was wrong he just didn't feel 'right'.
So I tried the character interview - and scared an older woman at the park by interviewing an invisible man. Didn't work.
I tried rewriting the entire section with a 'manned up' version of him. Didn't work even worse. He just turned into a jerk.
I reverted to the original version and tried adding in a few extra sentences here and there - about his past, about his goals, his motivations. That slowed the entire mid-point down so I cut it out.
I was seriously considering trashing the whole thing when it hit me. I was on the right track but going the wrong direction. When I tried adding 'more' to his POV it didn't work. Because I was making him dwell on the past when he was actually ready to figure out his future. A little early in the manuscript, perhaps, but he's always been an in-touch-with-his-feelings kind of guy. So by ordering him around and making him do what I wanted I was stifling his character.
Which brings me back to schizophrenia. I truly believe the character was trying to tell me all along what he needed and I simply wasn't listening. He, the fictional and non-existant character, knew exactly what he needed. I, the very real and flawed writer, was having none of it. I wanted him in his little box where I'd grown him for the last few months.
Is that crazy?