In the movie Stranger Than Fiction, Harold Crick is the main character in Karen Eiffel's book "Death and Taxes". She is shown narrating his world, however,

he also inhabits the same world as her. When they finally meet, she recognises him instantly including his face, fingers and clothes, suggesting she is in fact his designer.

Which begs the question, did Harold exist before he was written about, and it was just chance that Karen Eiffel began writing about him and changing his life, or was it the case that she wrote him into existence in his entirety?

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    Given how dramatically his life changes after he starts to hear the narration, it seems probable that he was a real person before. – Valorum Dec 13 '14 at 10:45
  • I don't have a source, so I won't answer it, but I think she was just gifted with premonitions/visions of him and what would happen in his future, which she thought was just fictional inspiration for a new book. – TylerH Dec 15 '14 at 15:51
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    I don't think there's any way to know for certain, but I suspect that it's a little like "The Lathe of Heaven": the protagonist in that book has dreams which change reality retroactively. For instance, if he dreams that there is a pink dog in the room, then all of history will be changed so that there is a breed of pink dogs which has always been around, and everyone knows that pink dogs have always existed. As the person making the changes, he is the only one who remembers the way the world was before his dreams. – Liesmith Jan 9 '15 at 18:43
  • A clue offered is that she began writing the book ten years prior to the action of the story, so, Harold could have existed for that long before the narration begins. He doesn't have a defined childhood IIRC, nor does he seem to have living parents (the kind of people you might call in a life crisis). – Taj Moore Aug 24 at 11:39

The magic of the story is that he is a real person with a real life. They met. They shook hands. He begged for his life.

Though he felt like a character from a book - her world and his world were the same world. He lived an entire life, one characterized before the book began as dull - it was still a life and it was his.

Though she had either premonitions or demigod-like powers, she was a real woman in the same world in which he lived. She lived her entire life in the same world without any awareness of being a character in a story.

Beings just born into existence do not suddenly gain membership in the IRS. The IRS has an amazing bureaucracy. For her to write him into existence is huge. It is much more than creating a being with illegal-alien-esque status. She would have to have demigod-like powers over the IRS. Given that, according to many sources, the IRS has their own demigod-like powers (possibly from being in league with darkness, possibly by presidential decree) she would have to have very serious extra power compared to normal demigod-like powers to create Harold as a lifelong and successful employee. Counter-evidences to her being a demigod-like being are her suffering in the rain (being subject to it), her smoking habit (addiction), her being subject to a publisher and publishers assistant. High power demigod-like beings typically are not subject to such petty things and when they are it is just one, not a multiplicity of them. It is more likely that she was a subject of the world around her, and that she did not re-engineer the documentation and nature of the IRS.

Within the world in which they lived, and according to both the story of Karen and of Harold - he lived before she started writing.

Note: I feel like "Miracle on 34th Street" but unlike defending the existence of Santa Claus, I am proving the existence of a (mathematically excellent) normal human. Thank you for that.

  • This seems really really close to the answer, but I can't quite be sure the author was also in the story. When she is writing are there any references to Harold calling someone like her? – user20155 Feb 4 '15 at 3:27

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