Tonight I cried over the death of a fictional character. No, I wasn’t reading a book. It was a character from my own imagination, in my own writing. I won’t say who it was or even what story it was in, but I will say that I have dreaded writing this scene for days.
How do the characters in my head become so real? They take over the writing, doing things I never expect. This time, though, I knew in advance that this person was going to have to die. I tried to find a way around it, but no, the death was inevitable. Finally, I braced myself and put on my loud music and wrote–and was startled to discover tears when I was halfway through the scene. It makes me wonder if there is something not quite right with me, that I can cry over a creation of my own. Yet, at that moment, it felt like a real person dying.
Is it a good thing, that they feel so real? When I’m really in the zone, the characters seem to come alive. It is more like I am watching their story unfold instead of writing it out. I recently became so horrified at something I had set up to happen to one of my characters that I couldn’t sleep until I had gone back to my computer to change it. Ultimately, I feel like this connection to the characters and what is right or wrong for them is helpful.
But it does make me wonder about the state of my own mind.