More on Fiction

Posted on by scott

So, I don’t know about other authors, but one aspect of writing fiction I really enjoy is creating characters. Like the story itself, they often take a life of their own after a time. Well, to put it a little more precisely, sometimes they immediately do and other times they emerge from my mind more slowly, like a mist that eventually condenses into a pool of water.
Take for instance that character I wrote about in my last entry. He began as very one-dimensional, a cruel, vain, betraying person with nothing else, no background as to why he evolved in such a manner, how he got to be the way he was. He was just a mean guy, plain and simple. But as I thought about him more and more, I began to realize that he was a very complex and often confused person, something I have to admit I didn’t originally give him credit for. He actually did have a heart but, unfortunately for him it had been mangled by outside forces in his life which ultimately compelled him down a path of destruction, regret, lost love, and an inner agony that no matter what he did could not find any sort of happiness. I began to see the real conflict within him as we explored his life together and all the events that had conspired to bring him to what he is today. Instead of my initial dislike and sense of repulsion toward him, I began to pity him, to feel a tremendous amount of empathy toward him and I saw qualities that had been overlooked by many he knew, which is a real shame because that kind of acknowledgment might just have been a saving grace. In short, this character evolved over time and I’m glad I gave him a chance to have a voice to do so.
He just needed me to listen.
In contrast, his best friend was immediately apparent in my mind. I saw him for what he was, what he stood for right off the bat. His authentic kind, gentle nature exuded from him in waves that were completely impossible to ignore.
I guess some might say that characters can be an alter ego of sorts within a writer’s mind. Or perhaps they are parts of ourselves that we either don’t care to admit or are desperately yearning to be heard. Maybe they’re both and more. I really don’t know but, I do know they’re real. For me, they become as real as any other person I know or have known. They are living entities, beings with beating hearts just like the rest of us.
Sometimes, I have to admit, I don’t like a particular character very much. He or she seems to be inclined to do things that I don’t really care for or they react to circumstances in ways that I wouldn’t. But, like the story, their stories are exciting to see unfold. And, like the story, they are often just telling me about their lives and experiences, not the other way around.
Once again, I find myself as merely the transcriber, the outlet for them to have a voice and I’m wondering where they are going to take me next.

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