Did it ever strike you how similar characters from stories and characters from history are?
I mean – you read about people like Lawrence of Arabia and James Bond, Hamlet and Rasputin, Norman Bates and Jack the Ripper, Spartacus and Robin Hood and you probably know that some of them are real and others are just made up, and you perhaps even know which is which – but for all intents and purposes, does it really matter?
They are all ghosts.
Oh, not in the classical sense – they are not disembodied souls; but still – they don’t have bodies and they are loose in the world. They are loose in our minds.
When you create characters – you are creating ghosts and you are setting them loose, to wander through the minds of your readers. So write responsibly.
If you create a powerful ghost, such as Hannibal the Cannibal, then you’d be well advised to write a worthy adversary for him, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you let bogey-men loose in the world without caring about the effects they can have, then you abuse your talents as a writer and your position of responsibility as a shaper of the world. Please don’t do that.
And so, the moral of the story is: don’t create anything that you wouldn’t want to find hiding under your bed.
Just when I thought I could not be stopped, when my chance came to be king, the ghosts of my life blew wilder than the wind. (Japan – 1981)