Monday, June 5, 2017

Letting go of a character. Is it difficult?

Author Khaled Talib
Many readers can’t get their mind off a character in a book. They fall in love with them. That feeling goes with TV and movie characters. From a reader or viewer’s point, this is quite understandable. Whether you’re reading a book or watching a show, all kinds of emotions are presented to you. It affects your senses.  You start to love or hate.

But I’ve never thought about the impact of emotions from a writer’s point of view. I would’ve expected that since writers are the inventors of their characters, they know these characters don’t exist in real life. I had this impression because I hadn’t written a novel yet. But if you ask me the question today, the answer is yes. I do get attached to my characters.

Imagine a writer’s world: Every single day sitting by the computer with their story. They create characters, then place them in different situations.  Spending six months, a year or ten years with them is like travelling on a bus ride with a group of friends. You get close.

For the most part, you try to be a professional. But emotions start to slip in. You want to believe that your creation is tangible.

Incognito by Khaled Talib
A reporter once asked me if I planned to do a series after my first novel was published. I resisted saying yes. I wanted to explore other stories with other characters. I was fond of my first protagonist, but I decided to move on to produce another novel in a different locale.

It takes a lot of energy to write a book. To bring back your character or characters require plenty of enthusiasm too. You tend to give yourself a sigh of relief once a book is released because all the writer thinks about is rest.  After the blood, sweat and tears, you ask yourself the question: do I want to do this all over again? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Strangely, I have had some thoughts about bringing back the characters from my soon to be published third novel, Gun Kiss.  I enjoyed writing the book as I didn’t feel it was work. I was telling New York Times bestselling author Ruth Harris how much fun it had been writing the story. She asked me how long it took, and I replied just six months. She said why not create a series if I enjoyed it so much.

While I can let go of some characters, I’m not ready yet to let go of others. It’s like playing God. You create people and express your love for them. They’re your children. But eventually you’ll have to send some to hell and others to heaven. 

Well, I’m not going to burn my characters. I’ll just keep them in a box for the time being. I know where to find them if I decide to cast them again. 

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