When I’m writing prose, I always seem to end up with the same thought in my head: how do people come up with their characters? Personally, I find that sometimes they just seem to appear fully formed in my head and that as I write I discover more and more about them. There’s a saying that the story writes itself, the writer just helps it along, and I think that’s very true. I think it would be more correct to say characters write themselves, and just let the writer know what’s happening once in the while.
I know, I know, it sounds a little odd, but it’s something that has been on my mind while I’ve been working on a piece for a charity anthology and my own personal work. I keep re-writing the opening of my own personal work, actually, because I never seem to be all that happy with it. Most of which comes down to the characters.
I worry that they won’t come across as well to others as they’re coming across to me. Am I describing them too much or not enough? Is this quirk of personality okay, or does it seem a bit too much considering everything else about the character? There’s so many questions and thoughts regarding them going on in my mind that it’s little wonder I actually find the time to write anything about them.
But, considering it all, I don’t think I would have it any other way. I like knowing that my characters cause me to think so much. It’s their way of letting me know that I need to work on them more, that I’m making sure they’re coming across as people and not just cardboard cut-outs. I can only hope that others will like them, but I do, and I think right now, that that’s enough.
Because if you can’t like your characters, who can?