Fictional Characters Aren't People

Fictional characters aren't people — except sometimes to readers who want them to be. And they're especially not people to those of us who make them up. Instead, characters are imminently mutable, cobbled-together bits of language reflecting the this's and that's of a writer's life — memory, fantasy, fears, desires, suppressed experience, shards of speech, half-noticed newspaper squibs, over-hearings, mishearings — all of it subjected to the writer's often whimsical will, then put on to the page for others.