Have you ever noticed that your characters slowly grow and evolve, until they take on a life of their own? You’re writing a scene, knowing how it will end, but no! Your characters have a mind of their own and refuse to comply with your demands.
Someone who isn’t a writer may think we are all slightly insane. And perhaps we are. It is kind of odd to think about how much time and energy we invest in people who don’t actually exist.
I’ve been skimming through other writers’ blogs lately, curious to learn about their writing process, sources of inspiration, and more. I can’t remember where, but I stumbled across a blog post on imaginary friends, and, really, what are our characters other than imaginary friends?
I don’t know about you, but I began writing out of loneliness and frustration. There were so many things that child-me did not want to speak about to others, that I made up imaginary friends I could talk to, who understood me and valued me, made me feel part of something greater than myself.
I must have made up hundreds of characters. And when I wasn’t writing about them, I was daydreaming about them, creating a new character when I tired of the previous one.
Slowly I came to realize that all these imaginary friends were actually the same two people–under different names and appearances, in different settings, with different backgrounds, perhaps even different personalities–but with the same soul.
And to this day, I’m still writing about those two imaginary friends of mine.
Nice! I do know how it feels when the characters start acting of their own accord. It’s a wonderful feeling :) I don’t know that I’d call them imaginary friends though, because they get dropped as soon as the story ends. Not very nice for them!
I don’t drop them. Sometimes I feel like I’m actually just writing the same underlying story over and over, regardless of genre or setting!
I don’t drop mine, either, since they’re part of an ongoing serial.
Often, they will “break character” in mid-story and tell me “No, I wouldn’t do that. Let’s try that scene again.”
And if for some reason I don’t listen, they will tell my wife when she does her pass of the story. Then my wife will tell me what my characters said.
Ha! Damn demanding characters…
I have even had dreams where my character argues with me about things I’ve written about him doing.. or how I’ve made things turn out for him. It’s been a bit bizarre at times!