Birth and Death of a Character

Sometimes you get characters who won’t show themselves. Yes, you had the idea. You “birthed” them and then a paragraph later they’re still sitting there. They refuse to engage with the story, with the world. Instead of a fluid outpouring of words, you’re pushing and can’t get anywhere. At times like these, I tend to stay away. To sigh, and close that file or book. But what should I be doing with them? It’s a lonely death, even for a character, to be abandoned. But is it better to let them linger? Will they not fade into obscurity? In the same way that I have old furniture and clothes, I am reluctant to “throw away” these creations.


I once apologized to a character. I had given her four or five chapters and then walked away. I regretted her for a very long time. But then several years later, in a foreign country, she came back to visit. No longer a struggle, the words and the story poured out. The first contemporary and true romance I had ever written became reborn in the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m glad I never gave up. So no matter how hard the story its, don’t abandon your creations. I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone else. But maybe this post was written more for me. To encourage me to go forward. I still have my words. Really, they are what matters the most. Go write!