Sometimes a writer will create a character, a truly great character, that transcends the author’s original stories and takes on a life outside of them. What’s interesting is how all these new writers and readers and film makers and viewers see very different versions of this one core character.
Let’s take for example James Bond (bet you thought I was going to say Sherlock Holmes, didn’t you?)
James Bond, of course, was created in a series of books by Ian Fleming. Since then he’s been written by other authors, turned into a radio play, filmed for movies and TV and pastiched and parodied.
For every adaptation, Bond has been something slightly different. There have been six movie Bonds (not counting David Niven) and all unique whilst still being all Bond. Sean Connery’s dark, panther-like Bond is a world away from Roger Moore’s light-hearted, almost comic-book Bond and both totally different from Daniel Craig’s damaged, vulnerable Bond. Fleming chose Connery based on the reaction of the women in the room, wonder what he would have thought of the rest?
I’ve read Bond pastiches that revealed a whole new side to him, and pastiches that seemed nothing more than a superficial retelling. Yet every author felt they saw Bond that way.
A good character, a really strong character is seen differently by everyone who sees them. I think perhaps the trick is they are all rather mysterious. We rarely see their inner thoughts. So we can project on them, and take from them, whatever we need and whatever we believe from them.
I think, as authors, we have to be prepared that readers may see our favourite characters very differently from the way we do. A character has two creators – the author who writes them, and the reader who brings them to life.
Sent from my iPad