writer’s remorse, regrets, satisfactions

Your questions, my answers (these all kind of fit together, which is why I’m handling them as a group):

Kelly D:

Of your published work, is there any writing that you wish you could take back and rewrite…anything that makes you cringe now?

mrs mj:

Who, of the characters that you’ve written, is your favorite?


Are there any characters in the Wilderness series that you have killed off and then wished you hadn’t because they would have fit in really well in one of the later books? I don’t have any particular person(s) in mind, I just wonder if it is common for Authors to ever think, “Darn, I should not have killed off so-and-so because they would have tied in perfectly with this storyline.”

My sense is that published authors always have regrets. I suspect that few of us ever sit down to read (or listen to) earlier work, unless there’s some compelling reason. On a couple occasions I’ve had to read from an older book, and two things are always true. First, I’ll find something I don’t like, sometimes something that makes me cringe; second, I’m usually relieved that it isn’t worse. Once in a while I’ll be pleased with a turn of phrase, or happy that the scene flows the way I wanted it to.

In my case, my regrets are always about wording or phrasing. I can’t remember ever regretting a plot turn. Which brings me to the question about killing off characters.

It’s really hard to explain this without sounding silly or melodramatic, but here it is: Characters decide for themselves when they’ve had enough. And probably for that reason, I’ve never looked back. I can’t remember ever feeling the lack of somebody who has moved on.  See? I told you it would sound odd.

As for favorite characters: I have many of them. Some are more persistent than others — a few from Homestead still make themselves heard now and then. It would be easier to name characters I never much liked. But I’ll let you guess. Except, don’t guess Jemima, or Julian. Because you’d be wrong. There are other characters I liked much less.

10 Replies to “writer’s remorse, regrets, satisfactions”

  1. Oh! Oh, do we really get to guess?…I think it would end up being a weak character, not necessarily a mean one. Like the Judge, maybe. But you know who really made me mad? Liam, ’cause he could have been so good. Now it’s pretty dang cool that you can take words, and create characters that get me so involved that I even go so far as to be angry/disapointed with them! Not you, the author, but with people who don’t exist! It’s an extra oomph, like HDTV! lol. thanks for answering my question, and thus creating a whole bunch more…

  2. Rosina, thank you so much for answering my question. The answer did not sound odd to me at all… it makes perfect sense :)

  3. I was going to say Billy Kirby, but then I read Mrs MJ’s comment, and agreed. I found Liam very frustrating – he was a good person, a bright spirit, and he wasted it in bitterness and pursuing the wrong things. I felt so sad for Martha that she had missed out on him as a father, they could have had a good time together and nurtured each other. I felt bad about Nicholas Wilde in the same kind of way – a creative person discovering and working at something new and different, making a mistake and not able to see a way to keep going, even for his daughter’s sake. Was Kitty one of the people you didn’t like much, or Baldy O’Brien?

  4. I agree abut characters deciding for themselves about what they will do. Many times mine do that. I will have had something in mind for them, and they will show me that they are going to do it a little differently. It’s one of the joys of writing.

  5. Honore Poiterin and his creepy mother for sure. Oh, and Ambrose Dye, hands down!

    Rosina, do you have a FAQ page?

  6. I would like to second (or third, really) the disappointment in Liam. I wanted him to be a great man, and was very sad that he didn’t get the big “redemption and then happily ever after.” But, I think his story was True (if you know what I mean with the cap T) the way it ended up. Isn’t it great that a fictional person made us feel that way? ;)

    Even though Carolynvt asked Rosina what characters she missed most, I’d like to throw in my two cents – I really miss Falling Day. When I read the books in the series where she has already passed on, I think about what she would say/do in any particular situation. But if I recall correctly, she was burried with one of the Bonner’s children who also passed on, and I imagine that is a great source of comfort, knowing your child sleeps in the arms of a loving family member.

    I can’t wait for the next book!

  7. For a minor character, you detailed Kit Wyndham’s complexities beautifully. Alas, he had to die, though I wished there were an alternative.

  8. And other flawed minor and not so minor characters: Claes Wilde, the Widow Kuick’s son, Richard Todd, Giselle Somerville.

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