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We were watching TV about all the fires that they were having in Arizona.

I looked at my wife and said "I am worried about the Howard ranch south of Tucson and if Sam and Judy are in the path of the fire.  Maybe they will have to evacuate and lose all their horses and cattle.  I hope they take the dogs with them."

She looked at me strangely and replied "are you talking about characters from one of your novels?"

Suddenly I felt embarrassed since for a moment I had forgotten that they were not real people.  They seem very real to me.

"Of course not," I replied.  "I know fictional characters from real people."

But I was still a little worried.

So do characters from your novels seem real to you?

 

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This is Anton, the protagonist of Fred's novel. We have him tied up and gagged in a closet. Tell his family that, if they ever want to see him again, they have to assure us that he will stop screwing up our lives. We're sick of it. He causes us nothing but problems and heartache. Until our demands are met, you will not hear from him.
 

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I have a phrase that I use to describe people I have known: Long ago and far away.
They aren't present.  I cannot see or hear them.  I will probably never encounter them again.  But I can see and talk to my characters any time I want to.  Aren't my characters more real (to me) than those flesh and blood people I have shared life with from time to time?  Does existence have to physical as opposed to mental?
 

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Hm. Not THAT real, but yes, they fell real on some level. Four of my books are historicals, so in my mind, those characters already lived and died. (But maybe I could find their grave sites?)

I had a writer friend who got an email from a reader who was so worried about a character--forgetting it was a fictional person--that they started praying for them. Effective writing, I guess!
 

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If your characters don't feel real to you, then you haven't written them well enough.

Still...I've never spoken about them as if they were.
 

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Franklin Eddy said:
We were watching TV about all the fires that they were having in Arizona.

I looked at my wife and said "I am worried about the Howard ranch south of Tucson and if Sam and Judy are in the path of the fire. Maybe they will have to evacuate and lose all their horses and cattle. I hope they take the dogs with them."

She looked at me strangely and replied "are you talking about characters from one of your novels?"

Suddenly I felt embarrassed since for a moment I had forgotten that they were not real people. They seem very real to me.

"Of course not," I replied. "I know fictional characters from real people."

But I was still a little worried.

So do characters from your novels seem real to you?
Just you wait until they start phoning you up in the early hours of the morning. "We have your grandson, his ear is in the post. Give us three million or we'll cut his........." Dang, I'll have to stop writing horror.
 

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AnnetteL said:
Hm. Not THAT real, but yes, they fell real on some level. Four of my books are historicals, so in my mind, those characters already lived and died. (But maybe I could find their grave sites?)

I had a writer friend who got an email from a reader who was so worried about a character--forgetting it was a fictional person--that they started praying for them. Effective writing, I guess!
Or time for a reality check perhaps?
 

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I had a college roommate who is now a very accomplished psychologist.

My wife is training as a counselor.

Let me know if you need a referral.

;)

LOL
 

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When I start talking about fictional characters as if they are real, my kids say, wisely, "Mommy, you're just teasing me!"
 

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I like to think that they come off as real, but I never have been in the club of those whose 'characters speak to them' - and when some people post that, they don't mean it metaphorically: they literally mean that their characters have had entire conversations with them!

If I can only conjure up half-convincing characters at the price of keeping my sanity... I think I'll just have to stick to half-convincing characters  :p
 

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My short story 'Erato' is about an author who falls in love with one of his characters. An excerpt:

Meg was right, there was another woman. A woman he was hopelessly and
profoundly in love with, and had been for a while. However, the kind of love he was
in, most people would call a mental illness. And in some ways he had to agree with
them. Because the truth was, he was in love with a woman who didn't exist.

Of course, the word 'exist' has several shades of meanings. Shakespeare's Romeo and
Juliet never existed. Yet, despite that fact, millions of readers have shed tears for this
pair of doomed lovers. And Bram Stoker's Dracula has been creating fright in readers
for over a hundred years. How can characters that don't exist cause so much emotion
in people?

Rose was like that. Except she wasn't an invention of some long-dead writer.
She was his creation, brought about as his imagination went into overdrive in the
throes of subconscious writing.
And yes, the story was inspired by my feelings for one of my characters.
 

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I agree with some of the others above: they're real, but not THAT real, although I've definitely developed crushes on some of the male characters. At least I can write the perfect guy for me. ;)
 

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I have fallen hard for some of my characters, and genuinely missed their presence once the book was no longer in my hands, so in that they are like real people that I came to know and love. I have "thought aloud" about them, but I haven't yet forgotten they are technically fake. I have gone and read one of my stories a couple of times to "visit" one character again, though.  :-[

My characters are as real as I can get them, I guess, though they don't go to the bathroom a lot (some, but not much), and they speak their emotions out loud a lot more than real people in my experience. They also tend to be more attractive than the people I know, sadly. Other than that, they are often just as sweet, funny, stupid, annoying and screwed up as real people.
 

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Maybe not as real as yours but, yes, they seem very real. Sometimes I will see someone in a restaurant or on the street and do a double-take because the person looks so much like the way I envisioned one of my characters. About a year ago my cousin sent me a few photos of her children whom I have not seen in years. Her daughter is now 20 and the picture she sent was very cute, she was turned to the side and laughing at something. I took one look at her and thought, "Oh my God, that's my Clair!" Of course I knew it wasn't but she sure matched the picture in my head.
 

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anne_holly said:
I have fallen hard for some of my characters, and genuinely missed their presence once the book was no longer in my hands,
Me too! In fact in a few cases, even after the book was in print, I found myself writing little vignettes that were not part of the story but allowed me to spend more time with them. It's actually rather a good exercise and might be the early seed of a sequel...
 

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Kathleen Valentine said:
Me too! In fact in a few cases, even after the book was in print, I found myself writing little vignettes that were not part of the story but allowed me to spend more time with them. It's actually rather a good exercise and might be the early seed of a sequel...
I'm actually toying with the idea of doing spin-offs of two of my titles because I felt the stories had supporting characters who really deserved a shot - and were too darned good to just be left as secondary characters.

The books in question sold like cobblestones made of oatmeal, though, so I think the spin-offs would be more for my benefit than any readers!
 

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Wait a minute. You mean they are NOT real?

Gosh. They sure seemed real enough when I was watching their antics on my computer screen. I was terrified over their plights and conflicts, wondering how in the world they'd survive or fail to be emotionally crushed. I laughed at their triumphs. Thrilled to the passion of their love affairs. And cried more than once with them.

Not real? What do you call that?
 

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Franklin Eddy said:
We were watching TV about all the fires that they were having in Arizona.

I looked at my wife and said "I am worried about the Howard ranch south of Tucson and if Sam and Judy are in the path of the fire. Maybe they will have to evacuate and lose all their horses and cattle. I hope they take the dogs with them."

She looked at me strangely and replied "are you talking about characters from one of your novels?"

Suddenly I felt embarrassed since for a moment I had forgotten that they were not real people. They seem very real to me.

So do characters from your novels seem real to you?
I think maybe you should take some time off.
 
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