You always hear writers say that often stories write themselves, or that characters do what they want. It is funny how true this is. I'm working on a scene now where I was planning for my character to redeem himself, at least in some small way. But he won't do it. He resists. He is hardened character, turning harder when given the opportunity for a bit of empathy and understanding. What this means for him I'm not sure. How will he turn out in the end? Will he come around and soften up? Will he realize what is important in life, or has he closed himself off for good? How will this effect my conclusion?
How much free will do characters really have? I suppose that it's likely that the more you know a character, the more established she or he is in a story, the more likely it is that the character will find his or her on way, while you just drag your pen along to their whim. Just starting a story you might even really know what drives the character yet, and so bending him to your will is easier. Two hundred and forty handwritten pages into this project and I can barely rein my characters in. The good thing is that I'm surprised by them.