After a certain amount of development, there’s a point in writing in which characters begin to take on a life of their own; begin to write themselves.
Being somewhat of a self-help junkie, or just plain selfish, I asked myself:
What have I done to develop my character?
The reason that fictional characters begin to come alive and create themselves is because the writer has created a story and traits that make him or her who he or she is. Pretty soon, all you have to do is imagine a circumstance to put them in, and they’ll find their own way out.
In the same way, my character as a human being has been writing itself out of circumstance my whole life. I’m being propelled into the future by my story.
Why do we care about our stories? Should we?
Yes. If life is picture-perfect for you right now, by all means, keep the magic flowing. If not, then stop whatever story you’re telling. Like, now.
The connection between childhood events and adult behaviors is fascinating, and discovering them can be extremely cathartic and healing. The stagnation sets in when one dissects and pores over the details—blaming yourself; blaming this situation or that person. Like Methadone, it pretty much works the first time—then it’s nothing but more trouble.
I might as well rewrite my “character” the way I want it. My mind doesn’t know the difference. My intellect might—but intellect isn’t driving this ship and is, at best, an annoying backseat driver with the directional sense of a sandbag.
What intellect is good for is creating new stuff. For imagining a you that is so damn amazing that that story begins to write itself.