Guest Post // Author Amanda Apthorpe
I am very thankful to have author Amanda Apthorpe guest post today. When I was asked for a topic suggestion, I mentioned writing about the love, or hate, relationship that an author has with their characters. Below, Amanda shares her character relationship. Enjoy!
My favorite element in writing a novel is crafting believable characters. I love the process of getting to know them, drawing on things that I think and have experienced, and sometimes didn’t know I thought. My characters always provide a vehicle for me to sort out some things in my own mind and, through them; I can make more sense of it all.
The most remarkable thing about writing characters is when they take on a life of their own. I teach creative writing, and when I say this to my students, many look at me as if I have two heads. ‘It’s true,’ I tell them. ‘Your characters, at least your central character(s) will become their own people and sometimes they will ‘turn around’ to you, as you are in the process of writing a scene and say: “but I wouldn’t do that.”’ What an extraordinary feeling this is, but what can it mean? After all, they don’t exist without the writer. A student ‘confessed’ the other day, that even though she thought I was crazy when I told the class this many months earlier, she had just had the same experience. The ending of her novel had been set in cement. Her characters would no longer do as they were told and so, the ending had to change.
I know when I have created believable characters, because they will make me laugh and make me cry. I worry about them setting off on their journeys into the publishing world, but am glad they are no longer confined to my desk. They are my virtual children and friends – good and bad. And yes, there’s a little bit of me in them all.