You're the Voice: Introducing Leah and fictional characters
Happy school holidays! Happy July! Happy new You're the Voice! This month's resident teen blogger is Leah.
Leah is a thirteen year old with waaay too little time on her hands, yet she still finds the time to read and chat for hours on Goodreads. Her other hobbies include: leaving her homework until the last minute, being quiet and writing stories.
I will start with the belief that (just guessing) the people reading this all have a certain love for reading. Particularly, fiction (because facts are overrated).
If I stick with this belief, I can now state that the reader in question either:
1. is friends with;
2. is a follower of;
3. is madly in love with;
4. is positive that they are a distant relation of;
5. is a son/daughter of;
7. or even, is
...a fictional character
It’s just this trait we have.
In fact, we associate ourselves with these characters so much that they become sort of real in our heads - living, breathing people (or otherwise), not just a collection of letters on a page.
Yeah, I know, they’re supposed to be represented as a person, animal or otherwise. They’re written to be like that. It’s why we write books. It’s the reason we don’t die in a pit of overwhelming doltish-ness... that’s probably not even a word...
It’s as if they become something more. They develop in our heads. They get facial features, for goodness’ sake. They become real.
That’s not to say they come jumping out of the pages and start to gallivant around in your bedroom. That’s probably not possible, unless you bring a whole lot of resources and a few technical geniuses onto the scene.
But they still live on in our minds, developing and changing to fit our own understanding of the character. They start to get life and form, their history and adventures being shaped and reshaped to fit the story you’re reading or the movie you’re watching.
And, slowly and surely, they turn into a being as real in your head as this crazy world we live in.
Let’s create a character of our own as an example.
His name is Riven. He’s a fearless warrior from a magical kingdom alongside our reality. His hair flows like the river and his piercing eyes hold no mercy as he hunts down his enemies, of which there are many.
He dresses simply but toughly, preferring to focus on the conflicts ahead. The scars from his battles mark the days of his triumphs, yet nothing hides the anger on his face.
That’s quite a small description, because I want you to fill in the blanks.
Why is he angry?
And, as impossible to answer as those questions might sound (with the information provided), your mind is already answering them with possibilities and ideas and information derived from your own experiences. Riven is separating from the text and jumping into your head, creating himself in your mind.
And that is what our imagination does for us.
And that’s why fictional characters are real.
Well... as real as a bunch of words can be.