Becoming your character - or our characters becoming us

I’ve begun to notice a strange trend happening while I write. Whenever I have my character sighing, I sigh to imitate their current emotion.

Is this normal?

I can understand why this may happen. We spend so much time perfecting our characters, bringing out their personalities for months or even years. It’s no wonder that we will sometimes take on their characteristics, if only to focus our own thoughts on the particular scene we are writing.

An itch scratched on the character’s leg becomes the writer’s scratch on the head wondering where the plot goes next. A wince of eyes for them at the terrible accident becomes a wince for us wondering if we should tone things down. A tear shed from their eyes signifies the sorrow in our hearts for a tragedy that may have personally affected us and seemed best to add to the story.

Am I imitating my character, or am I writing to make the character imitate me?

Has it come down to having his life as really mine that I wished to live, an alternate reality that can soothe me when I missed out on such comfort?

Have I carbon copied my life with the emotions I should have had for the situation yet can redeem myself in my character’s eyes?

Fiction in reality, or reality turned into fiction? Either way, I plan to make the best of the story.


  1. Hi, first time here, found you through Gumbo Writer. I think this post is really interesting, although i don't write fiction. Makes me wonder if I did what would happen, though!

  2. Hello, 2nd Cup! I remember seeing your comments over at Angie's place.

    Glad you found the post interesting. I'm still puzzling my mind over it.

  3. It's normal. Not that I'm anything to really go by. So..when I go to the bathroom (on the rare times my 18 month old isn't following me in the bathroom or the boyfriend isn't standing at the door when I want to pee in private) I talk to myself. Or rather--I speak 'in character'. I'll have whole dialogues between my characters and oddly enough, it actually helps.

    In its own...extremely perverse way. As you can see, I don't get out much. *L*

    BTW..I've been DYING to tell you that you look EXACTLY like my cousin Joy!

  4. Well, Sun Up, if I had a choice in talking to my characters in the bathroom and singing, I would choose the characters. I have a horrible voice.

    Ah! I have a twin. I know it for a fact that she is the sane one. lol!

  5. Wow! At least I've found out that I'm not totally crazy.

    When I'm drawing expressions for my cartoon characters, I tend to mimick them. I didn't notice this until one of my ex-girlfriends was watching me draw and commented on it.

    I don't know why I do it, I suppose it's a bit of "empathy" and getting into character. Glad to know you do it too. :)

  6. Getting into character? I think you've hit it spot now. I must be doing it while I write.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting


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