J.K. Rowling's Albus Dumbledore did just that. The headmaster at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft played a big role in the Harry Potter book and movie series.
The plot recently took an unexpected twist when Dumbledore consoled a 15-year old, the sole survivor of a mass shooting in Texas.
Cassidy Stay witnessed a horrific shooting that left her parents and four siblings dead inside their Houston home. A bullet grazed her head, but she survived by pretending to be dead.
When Stay addressed a crowd in Houston, she shared this quote from Dumbledore: "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
Stay has a clear emotional tie to Dumbledore, and the Facebook following she ignited wasn't lost on the author. Rowling wrote her a letter in the voice of Dumbledore in purple ink.
This story intrigues me because it proves that characters, fashioned from a jumble of words, may not be of flesh and blood, but they have plenty of life in them.
Characters can leap off a page or the big screen, and rescue a girl who has lost everything. They can resuscitate her with inspiration.