I LIVE WITH THE PEOPLE I CREATE
AND IT HAS ALWAYS MADE MY ESSENTIAL
LONELINESS LESS KEEN.
I was in the middle of a conversation with someone when I started to say, "My friend, Harriet...." I caught myself in time. See, Harriet isn't "real" - she's the protagonist in my WiP.
Now, obviously, if I was talking to another writer or to my husband or to another person I thought would "get it," no problem. But, in this instance, I was sort of embarrassed.
Because then I realized that if Harriet and the rest of my characters are so vital and complex and alive to me, then - hopefully! - they'll be that way for readers, too.
Let's embrace our characters! That includes not only our protagonists, but also the cashier who's only in one scene, the lurking monster who has no place in an historical romance, and the old man with the metal detector, who has no name and who never finds anything, yet insists he's an important part of the story. And don't forget the antagonists. They need love, too.