Making (up) friends
A friend and I were talking about our writing the other day and realized we were talking about our characters as if they were our mutual friends or even our… BOYFRIENDS — in the case of Tom from my upcoming young adult novel When the World was Flat (and we were in love)!
I know many authors have similar sentiment with their own work and just to prove the point I looked up a few of my favourite authors to see what they said about the bond between themselves and their characters. Here are a few quotes for you to read at your leisure:
If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
– Richard Bach.
You can have a very intense relationship with fictional characters because they are in your own head.
– J. K. Rowling.
Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.
– Mel Brooks.
It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.
– William Faulkner.
I rarely base any characters on real people. It’s much more fun to make stuff up. Plus I feel like I get to know the person that much better if I am creating them from the ground up.
– Sarah Dessen.
Of course, there are those authors who have a love-hate relationship with their characters.
If I were invited to a dinner party with my characters, I wouldn’t show up.
– Dr Seuss.
I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
– Stephen King.
But I will leave you with this gem, which I think sums up how I feel about characterization:
When writing a novel, a writers should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.
– Ernest Hemmingway.
Oh, and my favourite artwork from cartoonist, artist, writer and children’s book creator Judy Horacek (below).