Beware of Premature Detachment From Characters in Daily Writing

Good evening! Last night, I was sitting at one of my “third places” sipping a Latte’, when I observed a scene that I will certainly use in one of my future novels. This observation triggered a thought on the subject of “letting go” and how it relates to characters in our novels. Have you ever found yourself emotionally attached to one of your characters, I mean — so attached that you find yourself creating scenes just to put them back into your story, only to realize hours – or days later, when you re-visit the scene, that not only does the scene have ‘no relevance’ to the arc of your story, but you instantly realize how deeply your attachment is to them. I experienced this in my first novel. This one character kept reappearing in nearly every scene. Initially, I was annoyed at why she kept appearing; then I became tickled every time she appeared, I kept thinking, “What do you want? You do not fit in this story any longer, I really need for you to go away.” I thought I was successful in letting her go, then…when I thought I was approaching the last chapter, I kept visualizing this scene that was interrupting my thoughts and my sleep….so while having a ‘free-write session’, this scene appeared on my pages – there she was — she re-appeared and became the ‘star’ of that scene…perfect placement in the arc of my story – I could not have been more pleased with how that scene unfolded. I learned an important lesson that day… not be so quick to ‘let go’ of such an important character. Now, I hold on to characters clear until the end of my final edit…just in case another ‘star’ wants to re-appear before the story heads to print. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a stellar performance. Have you ever ended a story and thoughts of one particular character continues to linger? If so, did you allow them to return?


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