Run screaming for the hills? Welcome him or her with open arms? Well, if it’s a modern-day Mr (or Ms) Darcy and provided you are (i) the right age and (ii) the opposite sex, all will be well.  But what if it’s the villain of the piece with equally real murderous intentions? Or some insipid person who desperately needs to develop a strong backbone? I’ll pause here to kick a few hovering grey characters around the room. Character abuse, some might say. Maybe, but with some of the tricks and traits they acquire, it is an author’s privilege.

Recently, I described a fictional character of mine to an artist friend. Though loosely based on a composite of fairly unpleasant and negative traits, the resulting drawing fitted well with my imagined character. As time passed, I realised that the real life person I had used as my base character, (no pun intended but if you see it, well done!), was getting to look more like the fictional character drawing even though the artist had never seen him in reality. The real life character was letting his hair grow into a wild, unkempt mess and it had started to fall out, leaving behind a bald spot just like his fictional alter ego. His dress sense deteriorated into a scruffy, tramp-like lets-wear-anything look. He seemed to be neglecting his personal hygiene too – hey, do you think I really want to get close enough to check it out?

If this character shows up on my doorstep, I will definitely be heading for the hills. I’ll hide up somewhere and write about my flight, as, like all writers, I use every experience to enrich my writing. I hope this particular baddy never finds me. If you are reading this, rest assured that I have banished him to the shady realms of my archived computer files. Now, where is Mr Darcy?

One Response to “So what do you do when your character steps off the page into reality?”

  1. Alex  Says:

    Interesting thought – reality following fiction.

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Yves Potter

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