Okay, so I had something weird happen to me yesterday. I was having a chat with someone who’d kindly read over the first few chapters of the original novel I’m working. She was talking about the characters and suddenly I got this very peculiar sensation, like we weren’t talking about characters but real people.
It was distinctly strange and the feeling stuck with me for a while. Just now, though, I think I realized what was strange about it: I almost never actually hear my characters’ names spoken by someone else. My contact with editors is virtually always by email. I mutter character names to myself when I’m stuck on a scene or plotting something out, but that’s not the same thing. My relationship with the characters is almost entirely visual–they exist in words on the page. Having someone else speak their name gives them a form of reality.