Stories come from the most mysterious parts of ourselves. After a lifetime of experiencing unnatural solidarity with fictional characters, I started to question what they were from a metaphysical perspective. For awhile, I thought I was the only one who felt the need to answer this question. Even in writer's groups, and after attending over a hundred workshops in my teens and early twenties, I didn't encounter a lot of storytellers who interacted with their characters directly.
When I had the opportunity to study film in school, I realized that it felt unnatural to have my characters avoid looking at the camera when they clearly knew I was there. I started writing our interactions into the script in a way I never did with prose. That's when I began to understand the connection between my craft and the metaphysical inquiries that were plaguing me since child hood.
Turns out, I'm not alone at all. There are a lot of young people--girls especially--who have "Original Characters" living in their heads, and sometimes they interact with them, too. I feel called upon to help these artists navigate this experience using the tools and insights I learned as a writer of metafiction. The most central of these tools is the awareness that I am created.
My work is full of self-referential phrases and lots of eye contact with the audience. I witnessed this in a number of children's shows, tv documentaries and metafictional stories like "The Office." I aim to adapt these methods to long form dramas and reintroduce them to novels without the post-modern trimmings that have plagued so much metafictional work over the years.
In my work, the characters want to connect not just with each other, but with you. They might interact with the camera, the narrator, and whoever else is involved in delivering their story. I like to use a “host” character who the audience can identify as being real, and then demonstrate an empathetic relationship between the host character and the other characters in the story.
Like with life, stories consistently undermine any attempt we make to generalize them into a singular meaning. It's just as they begin to take on a pattern that they ultimately shift again, changed by our very perception of what they are, and our assertion that we might understand them. Stories are playful. Stories are frightening. Stories can frustrate, seduce, motivate, or demoralize. Perhaps most mysterious of all, the same story seen twice can do two different things, and therein show us what has changed within ourselves.