In the pain-staking process of revision, I’ve made a terrible discovery: my characters have better lives than me. Yes, some of them are better-looking, smarter, and richer than me, but that’s not what I mean. Most of them are simply more developed individuals with more cool stuff going on in their lives. Their drama is more exciting than mine, they’re going on fun adventures, and I’m pretty sure they’re having hot sex when I’m not looking. But this is part of why we read and watch TV, right? To escape our mediocre lives centered around work, CPA test prep, and the occasional drunken night to temporarily feel really neat.
That all seems pretty obvious, but it still kind of irks me that these imaginary people have grown up into such interesting personalities. The problem is I’m the uncool and out-of-touch parent who is trying to connect with his grown children, who think I did a terrible job of raising them and want nothing more than to lock me away in a home with a bunch of ugly sweater vests and a bedpan. Bastards.
Okay, it doesn’t really bother me—in fact, it makes me happy that most of them are coming along well enough in tangibility that they warrant jealousy. It reminds me of a funny story Kayla tells. I’m going to butcher it right now in front of God and everyone. Kayla was in class working on a group project or something. One of the girls was super dramatic, like Bella from Twilight. She didn’t think she was pretty or popular or good at ANYTHING. Anyway, emo-girl, whom I’ll call Marlene, fusses about some part of the assignment and mutters under her breath (though loud enough for everyone to hear), “Frodo would never have to deal with this!” That’s right: Frodo. She was relating her life to the legendary hobbit. Now I love Frodo too, but I would rather wet myself than relate to him on such a level and confess it.
I do hope I can make my characters real enough (though not necessarily likeable enough) that they linger in people’s thoughts. I’ll even admit I hope some whack jobs like Marlene connect with them and say crap like, “I wouldn’t be single if Kyn were here right now.” Yeah, keep dreaming you deranged boob.
Here’s to real characters! [Raises Mickey Mouse mug filled with coffee]
Sound off, all 3 devoted readers! What characters from books have you related with? Wanna confess anything embarrassing? Comment!