Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Kindness of My Characters

I have often described my characters as my imaginary friends.  While I am creating them, they gradually become more and more real to me.  I know I've really hit my stride in a manuscript when my characters feel as real to me as an imaginary friend feels to a four-year-old.  At this point, my writing time takes on a life of its own in the sense that it becomes my time to spend with my new friends, and it is the creative mystery of writing fiction that these new friends take me by the hand and lead me deep into the story I am writing.

I am so thankful for the way in which this has happened for me with the stories I have written, and I feel as if it is the kindness of my characters that allows me to tell their stories.  It doesn't mean that there aren't times when my characters are not so forthcoming, and I have to struggle through a scene or a chapter or maybe even several chapters.  But I know that if I am consistent in my writing time and show up when I am supposed to, my characters eventually come around and lead me through the rough patches, getting me back on track again.

Because the time I spend with my characters is so real to me, when I finish a draft or finally send my manuscript off to my editor, I actually miss these characters, who have become my real friends, and a little bit of "story loneliness" sets in for me.  The silver lining, at this point, is knowing that eventually, when my story becomes a book and my characters head out into the world, these "people" who have been so kind to me and allowed me to tell their story will now be real to all those who read my book.  For me, that's the power of the kindness of my characters.  
Happy Reading,
Nancy J. Cavanaugh  

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