However, it has occurred to me during an idle moment or two, that I want to keep some of the characters, even if I discard their story. Most of my stories are character-led and I have become attached to them. In fact, 99% of my social life revolves around fictional friends. This is actually true. I have few friends in reality. I am terrified of friendships. If I make a friend who seems to like me and becomes keen to meet up frequently, I feel trapped and make excuses not to see them. It's lucky I like my own company, or I don't know what would become of me.
But my thought was really about characters. I think I should keep a list of them all, so that I can be reunited with them in the future, even if I have decided not to use their story. There are one or two who keep haunting me and I can't always recall the title of the story in which they featured.
I made a lovely man called Johnny Carpenter. He is aloof, but charming and irresistible. He is tough, but has a vulnerable side. Sadly, I killed him in a shock ending. But that doesn't stop me from summoning him back to life. That's the other advantage of fictional people. You can make them appear wherever you want and do whatever you tell them, whenever you feel like.
Maybe I'm a secret control freak? In real life, I find it hard to say no. I'm one of the least assertive people in the universe and my husband calls me a soft target. But, when I'm writing, I can bend and shape people to my heart's content. It's probably the perfect antidote to real-life for me!
I think virtual friends are perfect. We can drop in and out of each others' lives, or segments of our lives, at times to suit ourselves. We can think about responses and never have to be put on the spot. I once had a friend who would arrive at my home unannounced and ask what I was doing on a certain day. Thinking she was going to suggest a nice outing, I would say I was free. Then she would ask me to babysit her children for her. She got me every time! I'm hopeless when I'm caught unaware. I always say yes before I know what I'm being asked!
I wondered, before I began rambling, whether other writers keep a list of favourite characters and allow them to see the light of day on more than one occasion? Or does each new story need a completely fresh viewpoint? Sometimes I like a character so much, I can't bear to let them go and actually miss them when the story ends.