Character Obsession

Have you ever obsessed over beloved book characters? I’m not talking about your own if you’re a writer. I’m talking about characters in books that you’ve read.

Do you think about them all the time? Engage in conversations with them in your head (or maybe out loud)? Do you imagine them in different scenarios, acting out different plot lines?726385Maybe this is how fanfic came about. Maybe it happens all the time and that’s why there is so much fanfic out there. People fall in love with certain characters and can’t let go of them. But fanfic usually involves TV or movie characters, not so much literary characters (correct me if I’m wrong). That would be very not kosher.This hasn’t happened to me often. Only about two or three times. It takes a truly engaging set of circumstances and great characters for me to get so invested in them. Sometimes I wish I knew them personally. Sometimes I wish I could be one of them. Sometimes I wish to be like them.imagesFrom a writer’s perspective, what I think this often comes down to for me is that I wish I could create characters like those I’m falling in love with. Professional jealousy, I guess you could call it. I want to create characters that are just as real, just as three-dimensional, just as powerful to cause such a reaction to my own characters.As a writer, I get envious a lot of other people’s writing. I wish I could write description as vividly as this writer, or characters as real as that writer, or create a plot line that is as complex yet easy to follow as that other writer.images (1)Many writers probably go through that. But what about readers? From a reader’s perspective, what is that obsession about? If anyone has any thoughts on this, please share. It kind of freaks me out, man.


  1. I think as a reader, the reasons for the obsession are pretty similar to the reasons a writer gets obsessed (minus the jealousy). It’s a character’s charm, the way they represent a group the person belongs to, wanting to be like that person, etc. I’m not sure this answers your question, but if I can ask- what freaks you out about people getting obsessed with characters? I find it perfectly normal! Happy Thursday, btw!

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  2. Sometimes I just read about someone who I really ‘click’ with; I wish I could be their friend; the power of the writer’s words have made the character so vivid, they feel like a part of me. I think it’s a huge compliment to the writer, and also a sign of our incredible imaginations and visceral ability to conjure reality from fiction. I think it’s healthy- as long as you still go out, and interact with real humans too! G


  3. I’ve often felt strongly about a character… usually someone I want to be friends with, want to help, want to kick or tell off… all sorts of responses. With a well written character who develops over a series, it’s a combination of these things. An example would be Micky Knight… I reread them several times to help with withdrawal symptoms… it is a massive compliment to a writer if the reader invests in their characters. I did it a lot as a lonely, young lesbian with characters written by the wonderful Katherine V Forrest. I well remember my visceral reaction to Val – brilliant writing in Emergence of Green…


    • It’s great that you found characters that could help you navigate the world and what you were going through. And, yes, it is a compliment to the writer. Thanks for sharing, Anne.


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