I forget when I came up with this thought – it might have been when I was in high school or community college, but that doesn’t matter.
My characters are my paper dolls. At least, that’s how I always thought of them. Like with paper dolls, I could dress them however I wanted. Make them look however I wanted them to look. Prop them up in different scenes and imagine them acting as they do. Sometimes I’d even crumple them and fling them into the trash when I got frustrated. Later, I’d usually end up smoothing them out and apologizing, but the wrinkles of my frustration always remain.
I can see their shapes on paper, even though they’re not human-shaped. I can read a certain cloud of words and think… That’s my character’s voice. That’s the shape she makes in the story. They make an impact. They dance through my head and wake me up at night with crazy ideas. I shove them in a drawer, but they always manage to find their way out and stumble across my path again.
That’s what I like about writing. I have a “legitimate” excuse to use my childish imagination. 🙂