This afternoon I saw a riveting play at Third Rail downtown: The Grey Sisters. Four female actors each center stage alone, in dialog with a character who wasn't on stage. One half of conversations. The performances were outstanding.
Craig Wright, the playwright, had written the piece specifically for these four women and they had worked with him not only to hone their performances but to create their characters.
I've come to believe that characters are real beings who live in our imaginations. When I am writing a novel, the characters tell me things, tell me what is going to happen next. It isn't only a rational way of choosing from limited choices. There is suddenly a solution or a next step that wasn't there before. The beings have input, in much the same way that these actors, and the characters themselves, came into the making and writing of this play.
Perhaps this is how muses work, whispering in our inner ear with ideas and thoughts and inspiration, both in word and in emotion. Whatever it is, it is exciting!