Before I began writing, I sometimes flinched when authors spoke about their writing, using phrases such as “my main character has a story that must be told.” It always amazed me that they could talk about their characters as if they were real people. Sure, I’ve spoken about characters in the Harry Potter books as if they were real, but that’s okay. I mean, it’s Harry Potter! Besides, it’s the reader’s job to get sucked into a good story. As a reader, I’m supposed to blur the line between reality and fantasy. It’s the author’s job to write a story I can get lost in.
But, what if the author is lost? Isn’t the author supposed to have a pretty firm grasp on reality? After all, the author wrote the story; they should be fully aware that their characters are fictional. Right? A story is supposed to be crafted, well thought-out, and carefully plotted.
Too bad I don’t do any of those things. My rough drafts are purely self-indulgent. I write what I want to write the way I want to write it. If I haven’t blurred the line between fantasy and reality, you can rest assured that I’ve written total crap. Any attempt to adhere to the “rules of writing” has left my story dry, boring, and passionless.
The truth is…I love my characters. In my mind, they are as real as I am, at least while I’m in the throes of manic story telling. I love all my characters—even the villains. I love the characters my readers love to hate. I love their dilemmas, their lapses in judgment, and their shortcomings.
And, guess what? My characters have stories which must be told. Will the world end if Idon’t finish the series? No. Will mankind suffer? Probably not. But, I have to see how the story plays out. I need to know what happens. And, since I’m living it as I’m writing it, I have no clear idea of how it will end. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads my novels, or if they ever hit the bookstore shelves. I have to keep going. I can’t help it…I’m in love.