Feb 6, 2010

Am I Cheating On My Characters?

For two years I've been working day and night on my book series, Blood Bound. For the past few months, I've lived and breathed along side my characters, Kira and Octavion. I've eaten with them, fought their battles with them, felt their pain and watched them fall in love. Now, after getting a little nibble of what the publishing world is all about, only to see it drift away, I find myself frantically grasping at everything I can to keep ahold. Fighting for that dream. Kicking and screaming my way upstream in a frail attempt to get all that I've lost back. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter. I'm not telling you this to gain sympathy or support, I'm merely saying I've done all I know--all I can--and gotten no results. I'll keep submitting to agents in hopes that one of them will share in my vision and accept my book AND accept me.

But in the meantime . . . I'm starting over.

I've found that my reason to write has changed over the past few months. In the beginning, it was my passion. I wrote to satisfy the need, to fulfill my dreams. I wrote because it was who I was--what I was. Somewhere along the line it became about something else. Whether it was just being published (which we all want) or the money or simply for the validation, I don't know. But it changed for me. I don't like where I am right now--who I am. I'm writing to sell, to impress, to prove to others that I'm not a failure, that I wasn't cast out because I was a bad person or because my book wasn't marketable. This person I've become is NOT me.

A week or so ago, I had a dream. It was so vivid and clear that I jotted it down. Over the days that followed, my muse grabbed hold of it and now it is the beginnings of a book--a series of books actually. So as I sit down to begin this new project, I find myself thinking about Kira and Octavion. Deep down, I know they're okay, sitting on a rock somewhere chatting about whatever, just waiting until I come back and write the next scene. But somehow I feel like I've abandoned them. They've become a part of me--become my friends. Am I cheating on them? And what about my new characters. I'm sure I'll make friends with Tara and Quinton. Their story deserves to be told just as Kira and Octavion's story did, and still does.

So I'm curious. How do you move on? How do you work on a project for weeks or months and then leave it behind to create something new and wonderful? Do you miss your characters, or is leaving them behind easy for you?

If you want to meet Octavion and Kira, go HERE.
And to meet Tara and Quinton, go HERE.


  1. I understand your feelings of leaving your characters behind, but I look at it as leaving on vacation. Because I'll be back.

  2. It's not cheating...just a hiatus of sorts! I can't wait to read more!!!!

  3. Christine, I don't think of it as cheating on your characters. I think of it as expanding your family. There are so many stories out there that need to be told. Don't limit your self. Be bold. Get out there and plant some roots in that family tree.

  4. You know, it's funny. The book I sold, I'd left behind. I had actually started two others and when I had the one on one, I just happened to take the first three chaps of that old story. That was the one they loved!

    Sometimes taking a break is what you need. It doesn't mean it won't get picked up. Never quit hoping.

  5. I think it's easy for me to move on. I don't feel that feeling of regret that you seem to feel in setting my characters aside while I spend time with new ones.

    By nature, writers are two-timers. You're just too nice ;)

    Time to do some cheatin' my friend! We're all doing it!

  6. I think your feelings are normal, but also that you don't need to worry about "leaving" your characters. You can always go back to them, and when you do you'll have a fresher perspective. I understand what you mean about your reasons for writing. I think every writer goes through something like this. We write because we need to, and then we write because we have a voice--a voice that we want heard. It's ok if that's part of why we write, it is what drives us to become better and learn more about our craft. Just don't let it take control all the time :o)

  7. Characters are like children--they all deserve your time :)

    When I finished my book, finally, the characters rested. They got quiet. They don't harass me anymore. It's wonderful. When I go back it's like visiting old friends.

  8. I don't ever feel like I really leave them. I kind of see it like we all live in one big house and I've just wandered into one of the other rooms. They're still there, I'm just getting a snack in the kitchen while they chillax with a movie. ;)

  9. I think writing new characters, and a new story, can actually contribute to your original story. You'll go back with fresh eyes, new ideas, hones writing skills and you'll be ready to kick some butt on the first one.

  10. When I finished my last WIP, I wanted to cry because my characters felt so real to me. So, I think I know what you mean. I think it's a good thing that your characters come alive and I also think they would understand your need to keep creative juices flowing. :)
    Good luck!

  11. hello. sorry it's been a few days since i've been around. hard to read my little computer lately----but i got my glasses now, so all is well :D

    Deep pondering post. "why do i write". i've had that discussion with friends before. I'm known for saying "publishers don't exist". they tease me, but in many ways it's my way of keeping my writing on track for the right reasons. because you're right--i've seen it happen with several friends. once you start writing to impress others, the passion within the words changes--often falling completely away.