I miss my characters when I go too long without them; I love them because they are real. I was lucky enough to stumble upon them–Chris, Rose, Sarah Rae–with the help of Jess and other good friends. But even collaboration didn’t bring these characters into being. We didn’t make them; we found them. In their schools, twirling pencils and daydreaming, at the rock gym, or the basketball court, in the back rooms of bakeries, (faces smeared with flour streaks.)
We found them in the places they live and work, and got to know them from there.
The funny thing is, I think they’ve always been there. Rose has always been a baker’s daughter; Sarah has always been a fireball; Angel has always been an outcast, a musician, a misfit at heart; Chris has always been stuck in the middle.
I know they are these things, because every time I sit down at the keys and try to steer these characters in a different direction, they refuse to budge. I tried to re-write Rose, and got Emma instead. A completely different character who we’ll use later on. But she just wasn’t Rose. Because Rose already was who she was.
I’m just meeting her for the first time.
Two of our characters have their own blogs already. One, because he’s an insomniac, and the other because she’s running for local office. Angel, our heroine, is both a writer and a composer; I’ve been watching her lately, as she sits on the chalky blue mats of the rock gym, cuddling with her sketchbook and watching her friends scale the towering walls.
I wonder why she doesn’t climb. Fear, maybe? Old injury? Bad associations? Or maybe it’s just not her style. Too much effort. Too physical instead of philosophical.
We’ll have to see.
I like not knowing yet. I like getting to know her bit by bit, almost as if we are dating. Every time we sit down for coffee, I get to know her a little more. The more I watch her go through her life, the more I find out about her quirks and habits. Her passions and vices. And I won’t always love who she is as a person, but I will always love her character because she is real.
And she is mine. At least for the moment, my characters are my kids.
I am a lucky girl.