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Help my character makes me sad! How do I deal with it?

by | Sep 3, 2012 | Tips For Writers | 4 comments

My mom recently asked me had I made any progress on my current manuscript. She’s a writer too, so she fully understands the creative process. But her question really got me to pondering why I haven’t been writing.

Honestly, I haven’t touched my manuscript in a while. Part of the reason is that my focus has been on marketing and promoting my business, so sadly I haven’t had much inspiration for my novel. While the other reason is that my character makes me sad.

Like an actor, I become my character.

My character is in a very dark place in her life right now. She’s young and still fumbling through life trying to make the right decisions, trying to escape the traumas of her childhood, while adapting to this newfound freedom of adulthood. She’s tormented by her past.

I think and act how she would and reveling in the darkness even for a short period of time, makes me sad. When she’s going through something, it consumes me. There’s a scene in my manuscript where if I haven’t read it in quite sometime, brings me to the point of almost shedding a tear. The sheer fact that it affects me in this way lets me know that the reader should definitely feel some kind of emotion when they reach this part in the story.

Why write it if it makes you sad?

This is what good writers do. They delve deep into the minds of their characters to fully become who they are in order to deliver a great story to the reader.

Not only does writing from the character’s mindset allow the writer to deliver an authentic story but it also lingers over into real life and allows the writer to have empathy for people in general. All of which, I believe allows for growth as a writer.

So how do you deal with it when your character makes you sad?

It’s probably best, if possible, to linger in that sadness as it will help you to develop your characters in ways that you couldn’t creatively imagine. It will allow the writer to write authentically in the character’s voice.

As of right now, for me, that hasn’t been possible. So I’ve completely stepped away until I’m able to deal with my character’s emotional baggage. What I do know, is that once I’m able to write again, this story should take me to new heights as a writer.

Has your character or story ever made you sad? How did you deal with it? Please share in the comment section below.


  1. @RobynStoutLee

    I'm the same way. The drama that my MC lived with in my finished manuscript took me to a very dark place. What she felt, I felt. It was hard, but I got through it. Writing the book was sort of a long overdue therapy session.

    • Stefanie

      *wipes forehead* Glad to know it wasn't just me! I'm going to get through this and I'll be a better person because of it. lol

  2. Deana Barnhart

    I love it when my character makes me sad. I feel like I may be getting somewhere with my writing when I do because if I feel such emotion, maybe the readers will too and isn't that is what reading is all about? Great post. Really made me think:)

    • Stefanie

      Exactly Deana, I feel like its a good thing. But its so emotionally draining…. Thanks for stopping by.