As writers, we do terrible things to our characters over the course of short stories and novels – we throw obstacles in their paths, send them after serial killers, break their hearts, introduce them to their arch-nemesis, strand them in foreign lands, and make them flirt with disaster.
Often when I’m in the middle of a story and have to take a break from writing (to eat, sleep, work, or socialize with my dog, friends, and family), I feel guilty about where I leave my characters. Did I leave my heroine during a lunch date with her friends (acceptable), did I leave her after she lost her job (not cool of me), or did I leave her just before the beginning of a love scene (oh that poor dear)? Sometimes the thought of where I’ve left my characters in the story makes me giggle, but sometimes it makes me feel bad.
Then again, I write mostly light and silly things. What if you write darker stories?
I’ve tried to write mystery/thriller type stories and as I’ve complained on this blog before, I often have a hard time keeping the dark going. Also, I seem to have no trouble getting my hero or heroine into trouble…it’s the getting them out of trouble that is the tricky part. So I have dozens of characters over the years that I’ve left stranded in precarious positions because I couldn’t figure out how to write them out of it.
But sometimes in addition to feeling guilty when I leave any of my characters in the middle of the action, I also imagine their dialogue to me, often in snarky texts (especially if I’ve abandoned the story completely) –
“wtf? You let me snoop around the killer’s house and then bailed when we heard the front door open? wtf?”
“I hate you for ditching me when I’m inches away from Logan’s lips…granted I’m not sure how I feel about him yet, but still girl, wtf?”
or worse yet…
“Girl, you made me discover a body on my way to work and now my clothes are a mess, I’m having a major panic attack, and oh yeah, you were kind enough to let the body fall ON me! Know what? Know what? Don’t come back! I don’t care if I was supposed to hook up with wolverine-inspired Logan later. You’re evil! EVIL! WTF?!!”
lol. Sorry and for the record, most of my characters do swear…often. :p
Believe it or not, sometimes it helps me go back and finish the story…other times, it just gives me guilt for hitting a road block.
How about you? Do you ever feel guilty about where you leave your characters (especially if it’s a long time before you pick up the pen again)?