As a reader, I have never struggled to put myself into the story. Within the first couple chapters of a book, I’m putting myself in the place of the main characters or crushing hard on the leading guy. I get so invested.
Turns out I’m no different as a writer.
One of my greater worries when it comes to my writing has always been that all of my stories and characters would sound the same. I try to be conscious about not putting too much of myself into my fiction.
The foundation of my first novel, Bewilderments of the Eyes, is constructed by my own experiences so nuggets of my life and personality litter the story, most of which readers are only aware of if they know me well. The majority of the worry comes in as I continue writing and putting my work into the public eye—readers, even those who don’t know me at all, will notice if everything I write is identical.
But I find it just as easy to transform myself into my own characters as I do other writers’ characters.
This is my (semi) natural hair color. I was born with a medium, mousy brown and I get bored easily so I tend to change my hair fairly often. But, I always said I’d never go full blonde. Highlights: check. The ombré trend: check. The ombré trend gone wrong: check. But never full blonde. And certainly never bleach blonde.
That is, until Viv popped into my head. Viv is a main character in a novel I’ve been working on for about a year. She’s tiny (I am not), she’s bold (I am not), and she has white blonde hair…which I could achieve.
I chopped and bleached my hair many times over the coure of about six months and was blonde for a year, solely because I fell in love with this bad-ass, fictional girl that introduced herself to me. My mother absolutely hated it and made sure to let me know every time she saw me for that blonde year, but I could not be discouraged. I loved it.
I recently said goodbye to my white hair (RIP Viv-T), but it got me thinking about the ways in which I connect with my characters. I admit that I often find myself laughing out loud at lines that they say (yes, lines that I wrote) when I’m rereading. I changed a major part of my look for a good chunk of time to look like a character that no one even knows yet. I do form attachments to the characters I dream up, as if they’re my babies. Or my Sim people. And, hopefully, it’s the genuine love I feel for my characters that makes them loveable to readers as well.
How do you connect with your characters? Do you have imaginary chats with them in the shower? Do you sketch them as they form in your mind?