Friday, March 30, 2007

The Persistence of Characters

This may be one of those things that only a writer will understand. There are characters that won’t go away. Now I’m not one of those writers who go on about how their characters “take on lives of their own and get away from me”. I find that a bit precious and more than a little goofy. I’m the writer. I’m in charge.
No, what I’m talking about are those characters who keep popping to the top of my sub conscious years, sometimes decades after they were created. I was thinking of this the other day when I needed a female sorcerer for a story idea and I decided to use a character named Lura who appeared in some of the fiction I wrote in high school.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. I created a pair of roguish warriors named Glyptko and Arn for a short story called Demon of the Fist, written in the late 1980s. They showed up again a couple of years back when I needed just those sorts of characters for an online text RPG I was playing. Hiya boys. How’ve you been?
Ditto Strom the fencing master and his barbarian pal Herrick, who first appeared in my 2001 short story, The Hand of Semethkar, and who have recently shown up in a novel idea I’m kicking around. (Strom also made an appearance on the text RPG.)
The champ is probably my Conan knock-off, Targo the Savage, created when I was twelve years old. He’s been popping up a lot in my fiction lately, though greatly changed from his original incarnation. The odd thing about this (to me) is that I usually have some vague notion of what these characters have been up to while I haven’t been using them. My mind fills in the blanks for where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing. A sort of retroactive continuity. So I guess in some ways they do have lives of their own, which is darn strange.

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