If you were to ask me what I like best about writing prose then the answer is simple: making people. There is nothing quite like that feeling of giving life to a previously non-existent character, of forming them, building their history, giving them emotions, ambitions, plans. For each and every one of them the potential of the journey which you share with them is infinite, and it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship: as a writer, you give them flesh; as a reader, they reward you with new experiences, fresh lenses through which to see the world.
I am currently working on a short story in which one character in particular has caught my imagination. She is, I feel, ‘bigger’ than the story in which she currently lives and has enormous potential to be expanded, rounded, developed – so much so that I am beginning to wonder if the short story in question needs to become something else. Or, if not, whether there needs to be a new vehicle created in which she can be completely resolved, maximising the mutual gains from our symbiotic relationship.
That may seem like a bizarre thing to say given I am talking about an entirely fictional ‘being’, but I find there comes a point where a character – remember, one created solely in the mind merely based on the arrangement of a few words on a blank page! – becomes ‘real’.
It is a magical moment, and in part explains why I love making people.