Do I have control of my characters?
No. Nope. Uh-uh. The miscreants run my life until their story is told. They haunt my dreams, and I see them in public. I think I started writing just to get them to be quiet.
As unsettling as it may be, this aspect of my writing gives them depth. In many ways these are real people with fears and foibles. I don’t create complicated character sheets, but I could. Often these details are irrelevant to the story. Does it matter that Leo hates herring? No, but he detests it, and he pushes it around his plate until he can excuse himself from the table. It would be simpler for him to tell the cook not to serve herring, but his mother and grandmother like it, so he tolerates for their sake. That’s just who Leo is. Not one word of that is in the story, but it demonstrates how much my characters become a part of my life.
I have this weird theory of heaven. To put it simply, it’s that whatever is left of us—call it a soul, if you will—exists within our own memories. If that’s the case, I’ll get to spend eternity hanging out with my loved ones and my characters, which is a pretty cool idea.