Menu Close

It’s Okay. They’re Storybook Characters

Image of an open book with stars rising out.
© Can Stock Photo /

I read an article the other day about the upcoming fall TV season. It mentioned that an actress on a top-rated show has decided not to return. The usual comments followed. Some people were sorry to see her leave. Others thought the show would be better off without her. One comment, however, was a bit odd. Among other things, the commenter said she prayed for the characters.

Say what?

The highest compliment you can give any actor, or fiction writer, is to tell them their characters seem real, but the keyword here is, seem. They’re fictitious characters. However real they may seem, they’re not actual living, breathing human beings. So while prayers for the actors, or the writers, would certainly be appreciated, praying for a fictional character is a bit creepy. It sort of reminds me of Stephen King’s Misery.

Some of my characters, such Ian PalmerAlex Montoya, and Gillian Matthews, were based on real people I’ve known. I drew on the personalities of real individuals to create them, but they’re all fictitious and certainly not clones of their real-life counterparts. I do, however, go to a great deal of trouble to make my characters as three-dimensional as I possibly can.

My characters experience their fair share of challenges, because plot lines, whether it’s in my genre, contemporary romance, or in other genres, revolve around tension and conflict. I love it when reviewers say they cheered for my good guys, and wanted to smack my bad guys. But again, they’re not real people.

I’m glad you love my characters, and I’m always thinking up new ones. You can certainly say a prayer for the real-life people who inspired some of them, but please, not for the characters themselves. They’re not real. Sometimes I wish some of them were, but that’s a post for another day.

Marina Martindale

Posted in Characters