Why Do Some Characters Live On Beyond The Book?

From Woman Writers, Women’s Books

Why is it that some characters just don’t disappear?  The book is finished, the edits have been completed, the next work is in progress and yet… a particular character is still refusing to rest or retire or whatever it is that characters do when the writer has finished the book.

I’ve been reflecting on this, because there is still a character that is very much with me – one that just simply refuses to let me go.  To Keep You Safe was e-published in October last year and the print copy is out in March 2020.  The premise is: how far would you go to keep a child that wasn’t yours safe?

The story is of teacher Jenni, who becomes concerned that her vulnerable pupil, Destiny, is at risk of being snatched by a gang: unless she acts immediately Destiny will be lost forever.

I won’t say if it’s Jenni or Destiny (answers on a postcard please), that still stalks me silently, side-stepping me in my shadow, so that she is always, still, well, just here.  But it has left me thinking why.  Why is she still here with me when the other characters, are well, for want of a better word, simply asleep?

I know I’m not alone with characters that live on beyond the book.

Link to the rest at Woman Writers, Women’s Books

3 thoughts on “Why Do Some Characters Live On Beyond The Book?”

  1. It wasn’t until I followed the link and reached the end of the article that she made it clear she was talking about a character she herself had created in her own writing (as opposed to somebody else’s character, say Hamlet or Captain Ahab). She might have stated this in her opening sentence and saved some of us a lot of confusion.

  2. Raymond Chandler had something to say about this in a letter to James Sandoe in September, 1948.

    “… Most writers think up a plot with an intriguing situation and then proceed to fit characters into it. With me a plot, if you could call it that, is an organic thing. It grows and often overgrows. I am continually finding myself with scenes that I won’t discard and that don’t want to fit in. So that my plot problem invariably ends up a desperate attempt to justify a lot of material that, for me at least, has come alive and insists on staying alive. It’s probably a silly way to write, but I seem to know no other way. …”

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