Looking back at the books I have written, it suddenly struck me just how powerful being a writer really is. Not only do we create complex characters and their lives, we control everything that happens to them. And we seem to do all of this without compulsion or regard for their feelings.
This is what I understood when I started out. The first time I had a stand up fight with one of my characters, it literally blew me away. She had a valid argument too, and I was forced to listen and then to change my plans for her. This character continued to be demanding through two more books. Even now, she fully expects to be in my next book.
It is tempting too, but I think I have used up all her potential and have declined. It is quite special, I think, when a character does this, proof positive if you like, that you have successfully created a living, breathing and believable person.
The reverse of this coin is more complex. Antagonists, or the less than savoury characters, are harder to make real, mainly because you want them to be larger than life, worse than anyone you ever met. Keeping them believable isn’t easy at all. I always imagined they could cause me trouble if I made them too bad.
But so far they have behaved themselves, so maybe I didn’t make them bad enough.
Right now, I am in the process of creating a new bunch of people, and I love every minute of it. The genre is yet undecided. I like to find my people first, and then we learn what their story could be.
The people I create tend to be composites’ of all people I know, and that goes for the bad as well as the good. It helps, I think, to know how a person behaved in certain circumstances, especially when you have personally witnessed all the mistakes they made!