Your characters aren't real.One of the most popular discussions among writers on any website has got to be some variation of 'what's your relationship with your characters like?' And especially on a site like here where a lot of people are coming from an RP background, people start in on these long conversations about how their characters run around and do things and would love to tear 'em one for that scene where they lose their whole family.
To understand what a character means to a person, you have to be an artistic writer yourself. There are several types of writing styles, and creative or artistic writing falls under this. For an author to try and get their work published, one of the very few things they have holding their hopes up, is their characters. They understand you just as well as you understand them, because they are literally a part of you. They come from your heart and your imagination, be it based on your own personal struggles, a person you with you could be come, or simply just a design that has been drifting around in your head for a while. While I partially agree with what you're saying, it also sounds to me like you're saying a good story cannot be produced if the author is attached to their characters. Which I disagree with. Being attached to your characters allows for an even better piece of work, because you become more involved with your characters. You know their personalities like the back of your hand, and you understand whether of not they would or wouldn't do certain things. Characters do not exist physically, but they do exist in the hearts of those who create them. I this makes sense
I assume you're talking from your own experience? I do write creatively for publication, and the one thing that keeps me motivated is the confidence that I can be a badass if I put my back into it, so not on the same page. (Note: a more accurate title for this would be 'your characters aren't real to me' but long title is long.) And, dear god(s), publishers don't care at all! You have to detach to handle the rejections. Worse yet if it's personal, because they will tear you a new one and expect you to be grateful for it (and yes, I would be if I ever...got...one).
That's definitely not the point—I see a lot of amazing stories where the authors admit they love their characters. Any particular bit where you thought that was implied strongly? I'll revise it.
There is a risk of getting so attached you ruin the plot by not forcing them to grow, though. I get writing for yourself like this, but if you want to write for an audience, you have to remember they're not starting with all the love. I'm very careful about how much backstory I put down for myself because I don't want to write like the reader knows something they don't, but of course it's necessar at times.
That's true, I agree that getting too attached, you can ruin the plot. And I didn't mean that unless you're attached to your characters you won't get work published. Everyone has their own writing styles. However, from personal experience I do believe that some writers who understand their characters, like they were best friends, tends to have a better understanding of the plot, how far their character would go in certain situations, etc. But I'm not implying that everyone does this, only a very few amount of writers can actually sucessfully pulish a story while being attached to your characters. Like you said, if you get to attached to something that isn't real, you ruin the plot by not forcing them to grow.
if the only way you feel comfortable writing convincingly is imagining your characters, do it.