Monday, April 18, 2011

Letting Go…

. . . of your characters is not easy. Right now I’m working on my first stand-alone novel, Trace. Until now, I’ve always written series novels, and I’m experiencing a strange sensation. I’m reluctant to let my characters go. The reason is—I know this time it will be for good. There will be no second or third book in which we will meet again and share new adventures. This makes me sad. There are at least three characters who I’ve become fond of and I keep thinking up new chapters to write because I don’t want the book to end. This is not good, because the book is getting too long, and everyone knows short books are in. Have other writers had this experience? Do they miss their characters, like old friends, when they are gone?

The three characters I like best are: Eric Palmer, a widowed orthopedic surgeon and single parent; Benjamin, his ten-year-old son; and Gertrude Bloom, his mother-in-law (Ben’s grandmother). These three form a family, of sorts, in which irritation, exasperation, admiration, and love mix in equal parts.

Eric is trying to fill the role of two parents while pursuing a demanding career; Gertrude, helps out, but her well-meaning efforts sometimes look like butting in; Ben blithely lives his life, unaware that he is an object of concern to his father and grandmother Of course, Eric also has two women interested in him—a social worker and a police chief--but I’m not as fond of them (I’d rather keep him to myself.)

Now, the fact that I like these people is no guarantee that other people will—my readers, for example. I can only hope. But, if they do, I suppose I could turn a stand-alone into a series, if there was a demand—that is. Who knows?

Robin Hathaway


  1. Robin, I know what you mean! All my books are stand-alones, and I miss my characters so much I find myself going back and reading a chapter every once in a while, just to visit with them. I would never have admitted this since it seems kinda weird, but you have made me feel better about it. It doesn't happen just to me. Thanks!

  2. Hey, I'm a random anon who happened to wonder here in search of answers for my problem: I can't let go of my old characters. I had a character whom I made in seventh grade... damn long ago. Toshio is his name and that's pretty darn ridiculous because he isn't even Japanese. I spent two years writing his story and writing other stories. It's been two years since I've written about him at all and he still "talks" to me. I hate it. I can't get him to leave. ): Don't know what to do, it's annoying because he's such a bad character...

  3. Hello, Anon, if it were me, I would try writing the character out of my life. After all you wrote him in. If it were me I would write a story that turned him into a good guy, or sent him to another planet, something positive for him, so I could say good-bye peacefully and forever.