In childhood, it’s very common to have an imaginary friend. Interestingly enough, these imaginary people aren’t mirrors of celebrities or existing friends or family. Children literally build new characters, complete with names, preferences and a physical presence. If children were to write books about their imaginary friends, they’d essentially be the fiction authors we all hope to be: authors who are able to create vivid, one-of-a-kind characters who leave an indelible mark on everyone who encounters them.
Remember that as a child, you allowed your imagination to run free. There were no rules. An imaginary friend could be as vivid as a real one. When you write, treat your characters as you would have treated your imaginary friends in childhood: take them with you everywhere you go, talk to them, rely on them, believe in them, get in trouble with them, let them be your secret sidekicks in life. As you discover exactly who your characters are, you’ll intuitively know how their stories are meant to unfold.