Dear Character: With a Bow to Janni Simner*

*Janni Simner talks to her characters a lot. I’m pretty sure they talk back. Anyway, if you haven’t eavesdropped on the conversations yet, check out her blog Desert Dispatches.

And if you want to read my total theft of her posts and technique, read on.

Dear Character Who Told Me You Had this REALLY BIG PROBLEM in your life:

I’m thinking it’s not quite that big. Not just because I know nothing about how that REALLY BIG PROBLEM would feel. Not just because it makes me cringe to even think about reading and researching that REALLY BIG PROBLEM. Not just because you haven’t shown me one instance of that REALLY BIG PROBLEM anywhere in the first 3/4 of this draft. Not just because if I listen to you about having this REALLY BIG PROBLEM, it’s going to make another character–my hero–look like a total wimp and failure. Which she so isn’t.

Really it’s because, if I give you this REALLY BIG PROBLEM, it will take over the entire book. It will become the problem of the book. And this story has another problem to tell. Honest.

If I promise to keep my ears and heart open to the possibility of writing this REALLY BIG PROBLEM into another book someday, will you still play with me here and share what’s happening to you now?

Hopefully yours,



  1. So funny! I have been through this before. I pass out the angst a little too freely, and then have to claw some back.


    • beckylevine says:

      I’ve been trying to be so good about listening to my characters when they tell me something, but I think this is one place I have to say…not!


  2. Susan Taylor Brown says:

    You KNOW how much I love character letters. Wonderful!


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