Establishing Character

January 15, 2009
Breathing life into simple names, I became a writer. Exhaling carbon dioxide into them, my newborn characters reveal traits and backgrounds to amuse me. I watch carefully chosen words on paper become my marionettes, dancing in my notebook whenever I ask them to. I spend countless days scripting their every dialogue, laying down their foundation, lighting the flame to spark their thoughts. They become a part of me—tender children I have created, who suddenly have minds of their own.

Lately they’ve caught me by surprise. Rather, their rebellion against my ideas has taken me by surprise. I brought them into this world; they weren’t supposed to defy their creator! But they didn’t approve of my smooth, unoriginal paths—they sauntered through wild grasses like the anti-conformists I wrote them to be. They did what they wanted based on their beliefs and values I instilled on them on page one.

The characters, the stories—they were all so radically different. But somehow I kept noticing something familiar reflected in all of my creations, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then it hit me.


I was Amy, I was Jude—Freya, Lily, Mark, Roger, Ellie—they were all in me. I realized how much Jude’s hatred for society was driven by my own independent, spiteful spirit. I learned how withdrawn I once was, due to having self-esteem as low at Amy’s. I became aware of how my self-reliant nature is only a misleading disguise to mask my need for companionship, as Freya discovered through meeting Jude.

My constantly fluctuating morals have always made it difficult for me to define myself. Now I don’t need to—my characters have done it for me. By crafting them, I’ve let out pieces of me that have never been expressed before. In creating them, I’ve discovered myself.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback