Creating characters is a curious business. I don’t really mean the early stage when I’m thinking about how they’ll work within the plot, the broad brushstrokes that give me enough to get started. But the stage I’m at now – the stage of writing rather than planning – when they begin to come to life as the story unfolds and more often than not teach me things about myself.
I think there’s a part of me in every character I create. Some more than others – and I definitely find myself borrowing plenty from people I know or have known too. But it’s a bit disconcerting when I find a character doing something, or saying something, and have the sneaking realisation that it’s a part of me that’s manifesting itself. Especially when it’s not a particularly nice or healthy characteristic.
Having said that, my life’s changed so much over the fifteen years or so that I’d consider myself to have been an adult that there’s plenty of material. And plenty of things that can creep out onto the page that I’d never let free in the real world any more. On one level it’s actually quite cathartic – facing up to those demons that I’ve moved on from without necessarily fully acknowledging, watching where they’re taking a character who makes different choices to me and grows in different ways.
This novel is going to take me to some pretty dark places, and I’m looking forward to that and dreading it in equal measure. I’ll keep you posted as to how much more I find out about myself along the way…