Sorry, But Montague Doesn’t Exist.

“Seph, I’ve got something to tell you.”


“Montague doesn’t exist.”

I accept this. Like many writers, my characters are very real to me. They are like real people to me. They have personalities, likes and dislikes, they say certain things, etcetera etcetera.

But Stephen picked up on this a while ago: Our characters do not invent themselves.

We are the ones inventing them.

Or are we?

I’ve come to realize that different characters in my Grand Novel actually are real. Not real in the sense that they have personalities and etcetera of their own, I’m just writing about them. But I mean really, truly REAL. Like tangible. Weirded out? Well, let me explain further. I realized that Montague, for instance, is somebody I know in real life, turned into a character. So is Alistair, Verdette…Well, I haven’t figured Harriet out yet, but I have a theory of who she is.

They’re real, but they’re not. It’s like looking into a mirror…the person you see isn’t really real, but in a way they are.

But now…I ramble. 🙂


16 thoughts on “Sorry, But Montague Doesn’t Exist.

  1. Ahh, what you mean is… you’ve unconsciously based your characters on what you know about real people – people you know. I think that’s a pretty common technique; sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes it’s not.

    The thing is… the character is still invented, it’s just that the raw materials for your invention are actual memories and personalities of people you’ve dealt with directly in the past.

    • …Sure. 🙂

      No, but you’re right. Just like nothing is ever man-made. Everything is all-natural. They just use parts from nature to make “New” things.

      • That’s a valid point, but I’m actually arguing the opposite: that the raw materials are naturally-occurring (i.e. naturally occurring via your interactions with real people) but that the writer is making something new by reconfiguring those raw materials for a new purpose.

        I suppose you can argue that both ways – but I feel less disenfranchised as a writer when I acknowledge that I have control over the process… and whether I consciously control it or let unconscious forces do most of the work, I still know that it is me doing the work, no matter wherever I pull my sources.

      • Yes, I think my conscious has done its fair share of work over the past three years. But in my numerous revisions, I’ve found my “id” taking quite a load. Maybe there are two different kinds of writers; those who think and those who don’t. 🙂

  2. Have you ever read the copyright page in the book. (When I say I read a book cover to cover I mean it 😀 )
    “All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”
    In your case that would be LIES!! 🙂
    I think we can all look at our characters and say, “Hmm… that looks like Uncle Bob…”

  3. Most of my characters do have traits of people I have known (I got the idea for Sarena in Kharma’s Way by remembering stories told to me by a Navajo lady I used to work with.) A friend recently questioned me about the origin of a ‘bad guy’s’ name and I told her I made it up. She informed me that it is similar to a name of a character on a soap opera (and I don’t watch any soap operas). Weird.

    Australian polka? Only if there’s an accordion. No worries about the 8-track anyway…I doubt a player even exists anymore.

    • That is odd ’bout the soap opera.

      And I do have an 8-track player in my room, so I’m pretty sure there’s a few hanging around in the forgotten corners of the world 😉

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