i would just like to announce before we go any further that i’m typing on an ibook and i’m going to have to give it back in a couple of weeks. and i don’t want to.
we were having an argument the other day about some of my writing (we being a bunch o writers including me who regularly convene at a pub to eat thai food and wax lyrical about each other’s work). a character of mine was thought to be much older than he really is by half the group, and they refused to let go of the concept that he might be a really screwed up twenty-something. it’s not beyond the realms of possibility, is it?!
how much does the reader’s concept of character infect a story? does it matter if it is out of sync with the writer’s original intentions? i guess this is at its most obvious when looking at book to film transfers and how miscasting beloved characters (or even not so beloved) can really screw up a film. but does it matter so much when reading? do you get really annoyed if you can’t visualise the character immediately?
i am not in favour of saying “Daniel is twenty six, has short brown hair, green eyes, walks with a slight limp, has seventy one freckles on his right arm and enjoys horseriding on the beach” just to get everyone on the same wavelength…and even if you did that, one person’s interpretation of “short brown hair” is completely different from another’s.
this is all beside the point really, but what i’m still confused about is how can people believe that twenty six year olds are trouble free? my character works in IT, is single and lives alone, so has a fairly large disposable income. he also spends most nights at the casino and smokes like the proverbial chimney. he is extremely self-deprecating, does a nice line in sarcasm and likes jeffery smart paintings. how is this implausible?
i was pleased to note, when shuffling through my pages at home, that one of the other writers had scrawled “i think he’s twenty six” across the top of the first page. excellent…i mean, what good is inventing your own version of reality if you can’t be your own despot?