I’m not in love with my characters.
I like my characters. I really really like my characters. I love who they are and what they do, why they do it, how they came to be who they are, and all that other good stuff. They’re strong characters, well-defined and complicated just enough to keep it interesting.
But I’m not in love with them. I mean that head-over-heels, think about them all the time, can’t concentrate on anything type of in love that so many other writers claim to have fallen into while working. There are no cartoon hearts for eyes and a heart thumping of my chest over here.
I read those posts and tweets by writers that talk about how they are in love with the people they’ve created. They think about them when they’re doing dishes or laundry. Their minds wander when they’re supposed to be working. They hear something on TV and think “hahaha, my character would so say that!” Yes, I sat in church last Sunday and thought about them instead of listening to whatever the pastor was preaching because I was only there to see my nieces and nephew sing but that’s a pretty rare occurrence. It just doesn’t happen that often.
(And yes, my story involves supernatural elements so thinking about it in a church was probably doubly wrong).
I don’t have that all-encompassing obsession with my characters. Is that simply a personality trait that I don’t possess? Outside of music and maybe one or two TV shows, I don’t get obsessed with things. I’ll lose myself in a book and can easily spend an entire day absorbed in that world, but it’s super-duper rare that I find myself wandering back to that story after a day or two. Movies are fun but I’m not launching into super fan mode over any of them.
A year or so ago, I was watching one of those wedding dress shows that have women come in with a group of (usually rude) friends and pick out their dress. It was a Friday night, I was home alone with my dog, and I’m very single. Don’t judge. One of the brides was comparing dresses to her characters. “Oh that’s so an Annie dress. Oh Lila would never wear that. I think I want a Julie dress and Julie wouldn’t be caught dead in that dress.” It seemed so completely crazy to me that those thoughts even entered her mind. I’ve never been the type of person that didn’t know who I was. I’ve never been wishy-washy on feelings or owning my emotions, I’ve never adopted parts of others personalities into my own. Has that influenced by ability to connect with made up people in some way? I don’t know.
I know someone will say “well then write better characters.” I believe my fictional little folks are strong characters with dynamic personalities and stories. I would absolutely hang out with these people when they’re not being chased around by evil beings as I’m not one for running. They have big personalities and know who they are. I’m just not in love with them like so many of my fellow writers claim to be. I care about them and want to tell their story. I really do but I’m not fanatical about it. Maybe that makes me a bad writer.
Is it me? Is it them? Are some writers selling their love of their characters to try to draw others in and sell books? Can some really be that into their own characters? Does not falling in love with my own creations make me a lackluster writer?
Where do y’all fall on this topic? I moved to the south last month (hence the lack of blog posts – been busy!) so I’m going to saying “y’all” all the time, cool? Cool.