Falling in love with your characters again

Friday, September 21, 2012
I wrote a guest post on Wednesday at The Writers Vineyard if anyone would rather read about why all authors should cherish positive book reviews, or you can stick around here and discuss main characters with me.  Whichever! 

So, about a month ago, I had this conversation with the hero in my most-recently finished manuscript. Okay, actually, I didn't. But if I had, this is probably how it would've gone.

ME: I'm sorry, Coop.  But this just isn't working out between us.

HERO: What? No. Was it something I said?

ME: No, no.  Nothing like that.  You're perfect (**not really**).  It's me. (**dude, it's totally you**). I just need some time and distance. To think.

HERO: To think about what?

ME: Us. Things just aren't going where I wanted them to go.  I need to reevaluate our entire relationship.

And so, we parted ways for a while. But don't worry: we totally got back together!

You know that whole thing you go through after you write a book, where you love it, then you hate, then you love it again, then you throw it again a wall and wonder how you could write such crap?  

I just went through a big hate-fest over my last story.

I totally loved it when I finished it.

Then I sent it in to my editor.

After her page-long (I mean, an ENTIRE single-spaced, completely-filled page) letter of things I should correct before sending it back to her again, my feelings for my oh-so-wonderful, amazing story slipped. Huh. She'd made a couple good points. My story wasn't perfect after all.  How depressing.

I sent it on to a buddy of mine to glance it over for some suggestions of what I could do to fix it.  She read it (yay!), and I received another page-long letter of things (and not all the same things my editor had caught) to fix.

At this point, I'm totally disgusted with my book. I HATE IT!  It's awful, cruddy, the worst thing I've ever written. Why couldn't it just be an instant best-seller?

I forced myself to make corrections, using a good share of all the suggestions everyone had given me, though I didn't want to do some of them (bluck!).  But the entire time, I felt like I was munching on cardboard. The whole book felt so bland and tasteless. I didn't love my story anymore, didn't want to work on it, didn't even want to think about it.

So, I set it aside. Phew. Done with that.

Until this week.

I decided to go through it again and see if there were any good revisions I could think up to make it better.  And you know what, I really liked what I read.  All those suggestions I didn't necessarily want to use but used anyway made it so much better!  WOW. 

This is a much nicer place to be than I was before.

And thus, I discovered what I personally have to do to fall back in love with my main characters again. Do my revisions despite how I feel about them, then spend some time away, have a bit of a life in between, write 30,000 words on a new story, and THEN come back to it.  It really works wonders.

How about you?  What do you do to fall in love with your story and characters again.


  1. Aww...I'm so glad you got back together! LOL

    That's tough, but I do think a little separation works wonders for appreciating what you wrote. :-)