Learning to Let Go of Our Characters by KateMarie Collins
One of the most difficult things we face as authors is releasing our characters, our children, into the world. Not because we don’t want to share them, or we feel they aren’t ready, but because we constantly want to keep tweaking them!
Even though we’ve gone through lots of editing and drafts, the itch is still there to change a word, a sentence, a character’s name. I liked calling him Greg when I was writing it, but now I really like Douglas better…I used ‘crisis’ too many times on page 47!
When you’ve gotten that final edit back, take a deep breath, and let go. Stop. Don’t continue to revise it, especially once it’s been released.
Now, finding typos is one thing. Those should be fixed, and your publisher should be willing to work with you towards doing that. The other stuff, though, you need to learn to live with it.
Why? For one, you’ll confuse your readers. Especially if you ask for major changes like a character’s name.
“Grace, did you get the book I suggested?”
“I sure did, Julie! Thanks for the recommendation! I fell in love with Trevor!”
“Trevor? There’s no Trevor in that book! You must’ve gotten the wrong one.”
Another problem is that it creates a lot of work for your publisher, especially if you put in multiple requests. Most likely, they are dealing with requests from several other authors at the same time. In the case of ebooks, it’s going to cause your book to come off sale/be unavailable for a short amount of time while the new version is being uploaded.
If you have a print version that’s subject to print runs, the change may never get corrected. When your publisher has already invested thousands of dollars in getting the book printed, they won’t be open to changes afterwards that they don’t see as necessary.
Guest Blogger Bio
Born in the late 60's, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she's always been creative, she didn't turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she's not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as "Seattle Suburbia".