Am I Human? Or am I Character?

character-or-humanFor me, creating characters is one of the most fun parts in writing.  No matter if it’s the main protagonist or a minor side character, coming up with the ins and outs of a pseudo-human requires imagination and a small bit of realism.  That small bit of realism makes me think, though.  How “pseudo-human” are these characters?  As writers, we want our characters to seem as realistic and believable as possible, and yet we control their every move, their every thought, their every desire.  Plus, if a character is too real-to-life, they are boring and seemingly stagnant.  Where is the balance?

That balance is the hardest part, but also the most fun.  As you write and during the entire journey of the story, the question must continually be asked: Is this what this character would do?    And in order to answer that question, a writer must know that character like a best friend, or in some cases, like a mortal enemy.

The best part though is the moment when you find yourself, as you’re writing a story, letting the characters tell you what they want and how they want to go about getting it.  Being able to hear the character’s voices through the words already on the page may seem like insanity, but it gives a story a tangible direction to go if you haven’t planned ahead at all or even if the way your character wants to strive for completely veers off your planned path.  Either way, the character is the integral part of the story.  Let them, or at least your voice through them, lead you.

Because most of the time, our characters hold a small piece of us, and that piece knows what’s best for the story.  Our characters hold our intuition, the things we wish we could do in real life, our fears, our dreams, our doubts.  These are the things that drive our characters and not only make them interesting, but give them a small bit of control of the story itself.  Their story.  Or is it our story, in the end, since the characters are made of us?

So are we human?  Or are we characters?



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