Most of my main characters keep a journal. They send letters to each other, too. Every now and then, like in the case of “Grandmothers Are Magical Creatures” and a “Guest Post by Leonardo Drake,” they even send messages to people living outside their world.
Last week, while my internet was down, a friend called me about some freelance work. “Great,” I said to her, “Let me call you back in a bit. I’m trying to figure out why AlmaMia prefers fruits and vegetables over meat.”
My friend laughed. “I love how you talk about your story people,” she said, “Like you weren’t the one who made them up in the first place.”
I told her that characters are like children. We create them, but they grow up and develop their own personalities. Writers have influential power, but if we respect our creations and let them be themselves, characters will claim their own ways. And that makes the writing adventure ever-novel and fun; for me at least.
Earlier today, I wanted to show my friend that I am not the only one who feels the way I do about the characters who live in my head, so I sent her R. A. Salvatore’s foreword to The Dark Elf Trilogy:
“I wanted to find out where he [Drizzt] came from and why he acted in such a manner during the three Icewind Dale stories: half-crazy, mostly lighthearted, but with a dark side to him. I know that sounds strange; we’re talking about a fictional character here, and one of whom I created, so wouldn’t his background be of minimal importance, perhaps even completely irrelevant? Couldn’t I make him whatever I desired?
In a word, no.
That is the thing about fictional characters: they have a way of becoming real—and not just real to the people reading about them, but surprisingly multidimensional to the author as well. I come to love, hate, admire, or despise the characters I create in my books. For that to happen, each must act consistently within the framework of his or her experiences, whether those events appear in the books or not.”
Yep, my Wicked Darlings, we birth them, love them (and sometimes hate them), but in the end our characters are the ones to live their stories. Writers are just storytellers with a bit of nudging power ;-)
And sometimes, the readers of the stories see beyond the words.
Meet Mamabuela (Sofia Cienfuegos) through the eyes of Gina Morley.
My beloved Daydream Believer, you rock!