Immortal Characters

On this, another Free Week here at 4F,1H, I would like to take advantage of other writers’ time and ‘think out-loud’, ( as it were), about characters.

A former Fox posted an invitation from a friend of hers for a short, easy challenge a few years ago. I had not given any real thought to writing a novel, let alone a romance novel, but I went for it. I had just been incredibly inspired by another former Fox’s posting of a photo she had taken, a photo that flooded my mind with a story.

Truth be told, I really needed the challenge to get me started and although I have gone back to the novel several times, I have let family and other projects get in the way. Now, I wonder if putting it off has not really been for the best.

The story has real life. Indeed, I ‘pants’ my way along every time I sit at the computer with it, since the story flows, characters do things I had not foreseen and I find that I have subconsciously, ( or serendipitously), put some scenes or actions in motion in previous pages.

I never cease to be amazed at this.

Truman Capote once countered criticism by saying,“You can’t blame a writer for what the characters say”. I thought that was crazy…until I started writing fiction in earnest.

A problem, though, had been with a subplot that involved four minor characters. They had just been fellow vacationers along on a short sailing trip, but suddenly a story came up for them. As much as I came to know them, as much as I could see happening with them, I could not seem to fit it to flow with the story. I decided to cut them altogether, perhaps save them for another time…and I wrote on, changing them back to ‘atmosphere’.

I have not touched the novel for most of the year, but the other morning I woke up thinking of the four-character subplot, and picturing them with the main characters.

Now, I’m in a quandary.

Do I try that subplot again?

I know that no one can answer this with so little info, or seeing how the story unfolds. I tried to kill those darlings, but they won’t die.

I don’t want this to stop me from finalizing the story.  I already have several subplots that converge within the context of the characters’ lives.

The questions beg:
Would this other subplot make the story better?
Would it be too daunting to work them back into the story?

They don’t have enough substance for a story of their own, at least, not a novel-length one.

I guess it depends on how well I can work out their story and how it would directly affect my main characters, or how my main characters can affect their story.

As I think about it,

I think I should let sleeping darlings lie.

Thanks for your time and indulgence.



About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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13 Responses to Immortal Characters

  1. Honestly, I think the other characters want their own story outside of this one.


  2. I am sure you will figure it out. Maybe they need to be back in the story but with some adjustment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe, Angie, but it’s kind of complicated.I want them on the boat,but maybe I’ll put them on another boat! Maybe I’ll do a sequel to this story and put them there in the next trip this couple takes to this place.You’ve given me inspiration!


  3. Helen Pollard says:

    Love that Truman Capote quote! So very true!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen,I know! Scary sometimes, isn’t it? In this story alone, the couple had an argument I didn’t foresee and another set of secondary characters invited themselves to lunch with the main couple…and what happened after the meal worked beautifully into the unfolding of the story. And I didn’t plan any of it!
      Thanks for dropping in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Pollard says:

        I love it when characters go off and do their own thing – it means I’ve done my job and made them ‘real’ . . . only, as you’ve discovered, sometimes it plays havoc with what you’d planned for them! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I agree with Angie. Can you just introduce them now, and then give them their own story later?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had been leaning toward giving them their own story,Patty, but I really liked the setting, hence the quandary.However, while answering Angie, I had an idea! Maybe a sequel, and I’ll bring those people back, where I can flesh their story out more.


  5. jeff7salter says:

    Generally, my inclination is to “follow the characters” and listen to what they say… watch what they do. Typically that makes decisions (such as yours) much easier for me.
    That said, in the case you refer to, I would ask these additional questions:
    does the presence of those characters (either in their sub-plot, or elsewhere in your story) make the story BETTER… or does the story you’re currently writing move along nicely without them?
    Your answers to those questions would suggest directions to take regarding the 4 and their sub-plot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you,Jeff; it is moving along nicely without them. Other subplots/characters merge with my main characters’ story, and I thought I could get these people to as well, but I realize that they should not …at least for now. Perhaps in another story, perhaps, as I said to Angie, in a sequel. But I will cross that bridge when or if I get to it.


  6. Joselyn says:

    I like the idea of giving them their own story either as a sequel or a related short story or novella. It seems like that would give them more space to tell their story without being too distracting to the main story.

    Liked by 2 people

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