It’s close to the full moon again (this month, March, the moon is the Full Worm Moon), which means I was out late again. Every two weeks I get out, BS with a friend or friends, have some pizza, and talk a bunch of crap. It’s a good time, one I do look forward to eagerly.
It’s also, unfortunately, about the only face-to-face contact I have with people who are actually, you know, real people. Nearly everyone I know is online, and when I speak to people I’m speaking to them over the computer. I know a lot of people from all over the world, but I’ve never met them, and I know I probably never will. Such is the way life is lived in the 21st Century.
I shouldn’t say these people are all my friends, because I have a number that are always with me–
The characters I’ve created.
There are many of them, and a few of them I know very well: maybe too well. Over time some of them have become very real to me, and as I’ve developed them in my head, they’ve developed as “real” people.
As I’ve stated here, on this page, before, it’s not unusual for me to “talk out” scenes with my characters. Sometimes this is done to help me figure out how I want to write a scene, sometimes it’s just an exercise for me to work out a history for my characters, to see how they act at a certain point in their lives. It’s something that I do quite often, and because I do spend a lot of time alone, it’s easy to do that.
Last night was no different. It was a full-blown conversation between my gaming character Kerry, fresh back from a summer spent roaming around England with this girlfriend, Annie, and his school’s head nurse, Coraline, a very friendly woman who was, literally, one of the first people Annie and he ever met, and the person who somehow clued him into the ways of love. Last night’s conversation had Kerry returning for his penultimate year at school, and he and Nurse Coraline were discussing and event that had happened to her when she’d been in school–a duel she’d had with a boy during her 6th Year.
In the discussion it came out that the boy had developed a crush on her years before, one that she didn’t reciprocate. His attempts to get her to go out with him eventually turned from cute to annoying, to aggressively disturbing. Finally, after yet another turn-down, said boy decided he’d had enough with getting rejected, and as a parting shot, he first squeezed her breasts very, very hard, then slapped her when she had the enormity to push him away.
Being the sort of girl who didn’t take crap, Coraline challenged said molester to a duel, and–in her telling to Kerry of what went down–the proceeded to mess this kid up in very short order. Or, as she said, “Never duel a Healer: they know exactly what to hit to make you hurt the most.” In her case, she took twenty seconds to snap both her opponent’s ankles, which pretty much shocked the hell out of everyone watching.
What I began wondering this morning was, “Is is normal to have more of a stimulating relationship with your characters than it is to have one with real people?” Some of my characters are, in fact, very real to me, and I’m sure that’s true of a lot of writers. It doesn’t bother me that I get into my character this much that I spend so much time trying to see what makes them tick, even when I know some of what I work out may never, ever, be written down and see the light of day.
Are other writers like me and surround themselves with a small circle of imaginary friends who, after a while, become extremely real? Are they real to me in the same way the people around me are real, or do I take my interest in these characters are little too far.
For when I’m with my characters, I’m also with my Muse, and that is a very comforting feeling.
If nothing else, we all deserve comfort. But is it right that the ones who bring it are but mere scribbling on a screen?
Could be worse; could be no one at all . . .