There I sat, for the one-hundred-thousandth time in front of the computer, staring at the screen, waiting for inspiration to come to me so that I could pick up writing my story from the day before. Fifteen minutes passed with not a single key press occurring. I got some snacks, I had a drink, I checked my email, I played some music, I took a walk around the house, I did everything but write the next paragraph in my story.
I was about to give up and close down the application window, frustrated at how this creative impotence recently had become a common occurrence, when, one-by-one, my characters floated through my mind. They depended on me. Is it strange to care about fictitious characters? They really don’t matter, they’re not real, but it felt that I owed them life. Could what they are be considered life? I wondered if the more read and appreciated a fictitious character became, the more “alive” they became.
I pondered the strange paradox I had stumbled upon until the answer came to me, the answer to my writing hold-up. These characters, they are alive through me. In some way, in my head, they act and react, and then come into existence once put down on paper. Having given them personalities, they each respond in different ways to different circumstances. So, all I needed to do was take care of the circumstances in which they were placed, then get out of their way—they’d tell their stories just fine.