my characters shouldn’t like me

My characters shouldn’t like me. If they knew I was the one causing them trouble…

I like my characters. I don’t like making them fall into rivers and nearly drown, or get tied up against a tree, or…

But, it’s like I’m six years old again playing with my army men. Ruthless. Throwing rocks. Knocking down whole swaths of an opposing army. Crushing vehicles. The carnage.

But, I didn’t really know any of those army men personally. I mean their thoughts, what they like, their attitudes, where they grew up, their goals. I love my characters. I wish they knew about me sometimes and how much I care. But, I realize they’d know I was the one causing them grief. They probably wouldn’t like me. That’s kind of devastating.

How do you play with your army men/characters?

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8 comments
  1. I seems to me that the point of what you’re saying (no matter whether we knock those characters flying or give them everything they seem to want) is that we know these people in a very intimate way. They are not just characters in the pages of a book to us their creators. They are real. We have a relationship with them – albeit one-sided since, as you say, they don’t know us. But everyone of them is us. What a life, right? Being a writer.

    • tyroper said:

      Yep. I work toward knowing my characters close to as well as they know themselves.

  2. I have the opposite problem, I struggle to hurt my characters or to write a ‘bad’ character. Am I so weak I need to be liked by my characters? I really enjoy the overall control (the toy army side). If I talk to a book group, they seem surprised that events in a book are not inevitable. That I can decide one day that ‘Joe’ has settled in Peru, then another day that after all he shall never leave Little Norton. Or that I can change his name to say ‘Desmond’, or even ‘Jane’ at will. Writing is play time.

    • tyroper said:

      Exactly! Just like when we were kids.

  3. Catskinner would definitely eliminate me as a threat to James.

  4. I think quite a few of my characters would attack me. I’d need restraining orders.

  5. I find it really easy to hurt my characters, maybe that’s something wrong with me ahaha! But it has to be interesting and I don’t think it would be if they sat on the sofa every night.

  6. Oh the image of toy soldiers is perfect for this, lol. Very apt and agree I doubt my characters would like me either.

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