A lot of writers walk around thinking they're insane. After all, we hear voices and sometimes we talk back. We learn to love and appreciate the voices. In some cases we think of ways we can torment them and in others we do everything we can to get them out of jams. In a way, we are like their Gods and Godesses, answering their prayers, meddling in their affairs. We have control over the outcome of their stories, or do we?
It's easy to play the role of divinity in our characters lives, but is that really our purpose? Or are we there to give them an outlet? As often as I would like to think I had control over my characters and what was supposed to happen in their lives, they tend to fight every step of the way when they disagree. Is this because they are art imitating life, or perhaps it's even deeper than that. Maybe we are conduits somehow, tuned into the universe.
It sounds wacky, I know, but sometimes the people in my head seem so real that it frustrates me to no end when they take on a life of their own. I remember a story I was writing years ago in which a teenage character with a mind of her own wanted to kiss her best male friend during summer break. She already had a boyfriend whom she loved very dearly, but the moment and the connection between her and her friend made her react as though she might die if she didn't do exactly what her impulses dictated. I actually felt myself being pulled in that direction, started writing out her wish and then stopped. That was NOT what the story was all about. In fact, there were several stories that followed, stories that had already been written, so I knew for a fact that there was no secret kiss between them and there never would be. But she was adamant. She fought me every step out of that scene and actually refused to "speak" to me for a full day.
There is definitely a strange connection between a writer and her characters. I used to think of myself as their creator, but now I'm not so sure. They certainly come into being with their own agenda, their own names. I've "tried" to name characters, but they always name themselves, and if the name I've chosen at first is wrong, they quickly correct me, lest I not go on writing with any luck at all.
So I ask you, what kind of relationship do you have with your characters? Do they speak to you? Do you hear their voices in your head? When you go against their wants, do they let you know? What kind of role do you see yourself as in their lives? Are you simply the bard spinning their story, or are you the great creator to whom they cling and pray?