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  • Writer's pictureCherry Northcutt

When Fiction is too Real

Novemeber 13, 2018

Some time ago I wrote a scene in which my main character allowed her husband to walk out on her, without saying a word, without trying to stop him. It was sad, because clearly, they were meant to be together.She was at a low point in her life, in that moment of the story. She was grieving the loss of her mother and, shortly after that, being laid off from her job. Yes, I was piling on the misery. Writing it was emotional for me. I created these characters and I created this situation but, it still made me sad. I actually cried. Later, I told a friend about it. She laughed at me. She thought it was ridiculous that I cried about a story that I had made-up. Clearly this “friend” has no imagination.

So, this is an example of how real the characters are to me. I don’t want them to be sad, or break-up, or be in danger.

I wrote a scene in which someone broke into my main character’s house, but she wasn’t home. She was far away from the danger. Then I realized, it’s not my job to protect her. Quite the opposite. She needs to be where the action is. So I put her at home, sleeping in her nice warm bed. She was awakened by breaking glass and was forced to face the intruder.

So, yeah. My fiction is all too real for me. I even have dreams about these people. But, I’m not ready to kill my darlings. What kind of stupid advice is that? Then I’d have to create all new darlings to write about.

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