The people are real. Even though they’re not.

And now, as I’m into the writing-for-real, in the midst of getting to know my created people so intimately, I know what it is I must find in each of them:  My love for them.

Do all writers do this, I wonder? Look for the love?

Even before Word One, I’ve known that we must love our main character, Terry, from the moment we meet him—a difficult thing to achieve, considering his circumstances. And Byrne, my thorniest self: She’s a tougher challenge; a difficult personality from the start. Finding the love will be part of my journey with her. And little Carson…he already has all the love I can build into him, although he hasn’t yet come to life in a single word outside of my notebook.

The heroes—even the villains. All, creatures of love.

Capital-L Love is at the core of Characters. If not Love, then the possibility for it; the potential. Finding the Love requires finding in yourself the abiding affection that will allow you to adore the character. To pity him (or her). Or get pissed. To see him suffer and triumph and find a place in the world that reaches far beyond where he began. Love enough to make you follow his serpentine path through his written-down life. Enough to make him completely alive in your head and your heart.

As a writer, you may not like your character. But you must love him. So your reader will.

Strange, what I’ve just realized in this instant…what writing really is…the endless search for love.