The theme this month is the bad things we've done to our characters. I don't feel like I've done anything bad to them. They've done bad thing to ME! Here are five examples. My characters have:
1. Kept me up at night, worrying about them and how I was going to (somewhat realistically) get them out of the messes they'd gotten themselves into.
2. Caused me to drink coffee at 4 PM, which yes, allows me to get more work done, but also leads to sleepless nights (see #1).
3. Changed their names on me two or three times, to the extent that sometimes when I'm at a school visit and a student asks about "Bob" I have trouble remembering who that is, because I still think of him as "Henry."
4. Gotten me lots of strange looks at the coffee shop, when I'm working on a section of dialogue and I accidentally start talking to myself to get a feel for a character's voice.
5. Kept secrets from me, such as when the main character in Lions of Little Rock did not reveal to me that she had trouble talking until I had already written the entire first draft.
I guess in some ways, I really do think of my characters as people separate from me. They might make me worry, embarrass me and cause me extra work, but gosh, I really do love them too.