July 19, 2012 by Dropped Ink
When writing and creating characters it is easy to become so lost in the story that you allow them to entrap your thoughts so their deaths creep up on you. It is particularly hard when you have created a character that you talk about to co-workers, friends, and family as if they exist in a tangible way. You find yourself saying, ” Bob got back with his ex-girlfriend and he just could understand how bad a decision it was.” Your family will entertain you because they love you, your friends will likely respond with “Who is Bob?”, only for you to realize what you have been doing up to this point and tell them Bob is your character, they will then frown and furrow their brows. Bobs death will send you into a tailspin because you are literally stricken with fear and anger at the prospect of putting him through the process of his demise.
I can sincerely and honestly say a lump has formed and tears have rolled quietly down my cheeks when I have had to kill a beloved character. We are creators in many respects because while these beings that we have created exist in a fictitious space they are representations of us. They possess the things we most admire in people, intellect, strength, courageous, beauty, perfection beyond comparison. No matter how we package them, no matter the genre we set them in we love them because we have created them as we wish them to be. Which is why the idea of killing them puts us beside ourselves with writers grief. No one, outside of another writer or artist can understand that grief. I have found that if you cry and are deeply connected to your characters the readers will cry and feel the same emotions.
Then there are those characters that we weep over because we are free of them. These characters are so strong that they hold us and envelope every aspect of our thought process. They are dying to be. To be seen, heard, experienced. They force themselves on to the page with a fury that you find yourself exhausted after writing them. I have had characters that have been so loud in my head that I have had to write them, and I do mean write, every scene, situation, thought that they have articulated. There have been times I have come home from work with post-it notes paper clipped together because my character would not shut up unless I wrote them. These characters are great creations but they are unwelcome creations because they consume you. They characters often possess characteristics that make them people we would never keep company with yet we find them intriguing. Then are so insufferable we loath those moments we hear their voices in our heads. The stories are good, they are beloved by all who read them. Yet we the writers, the creators, hate their very manifestations and killing them is a sad yet merciful act.
The tortured conflicted minds of writers.