Monday, 6 April 2015

Writer's Dilemma

Do you ever worry
you will wake to find your characters clustered around your bed
like in that old movie about the brothers Grimm
ranting and complaining
about the way you treated them?

About how they did not deserve to die
or be tortured
or lose all those they loved?

Will you stammer
protest that you had to
For The Sake of the Story?

Will you fall to your knees and ask for forgiveness?

It's a wrench to kill characters
when each is a piece of yourself
you even pity the bad ones
because you know what made them that way

It's a wrench
even to punish evil misdeeds

not to turn back the clock
and rescue that frightened child from the dark
and make them into something bright

But it is hard to write a book
where nothing bad happens
unless it's a picture book for kids

Will you protest
that they will be remembered with fond sadness
like fallen heroes?

Will you turn your face to the wall
and pretend you don't hear them?

I wonder to myself
what does JK Rowling do?

Does she lay awake at night
tossing and turning
haunted by the voices of her dead characters?

Has she moved on
accepted it is all part of a writer's life
planned more characters to kill?

 How does George R R Martin
even sleep at night?

How does any writer sleep
worrying that their characters will invade their dreams
demanding justice?

(c)opyright Laura Morrigan 2015


  1. I LOVE this. Great piece! And now I know what happened to Poe...

  2. Laura, you've made me glad I don't write fiction! However, some of my paintings have come back to haunt me...

  3. Good thing I only ever write about myself mostly, eh? I have enough trouble sleeping as it is!! ;)

  4. This is wonderful, Laura. So much anxiety and search for understanding. So much uncertainty in each line...

    I've always been characters' storyteller, never their dictator. So this things have never worried me. I've cried long tears when a character dies (regardless of how good or terrible they were). I've also felt tempted to change their story, for something sweeter... just to have a character turn her or his face to me, with eyes that say, Don't you dare, Writer. I am not your plaything.

  5. You are brilliant girl! I loved reading this!