Hangman · On Writing · Writing Life

When It Won’t Leave You Alone – And It Shouldn’t

It’s been years since Hangman became a part of my life. A tiny idea ripped open in a small kitchen as I played a hangman game with my son.

For the last three nights, I’ve been having dreams about the story. The characters living, breathing, staring at me. Screaming at me to keep telling their story.

I’ve written at least seven versions of this story, including a major rewrite in the fall of 2018.

I thought I was finished.

But apparently I’m not.

Sometimes a story won’t leave you alone – and it shouldn’t.

If it’s still got life to breathe out, it will continue to haunt you. The characters will come to you each night in your dreams…and when they’re really desperate, they’ll show up each time you blink.


So this story will not leave me alone.

This morning, I finally gave in and sat down at my laptop to write out AGAIN a list of musts, tweaks, and new plot points.

This story continues to shift and it won’t leave me alone.

What’s incredible in every sense of the word, is that I thought it was done. I thought this latest version was really, really great. I felt proud of it. Proud of myself. Proud of the hard, hard work I’d put into it.


Still it wants me come back and tell the story differently. Tell it like it originally wanted to be told.

Scale waaaaay back.

Take out major people and plot points.

Oh, the pain in revisions I’ve endured already…and now they’re telling me MORE, MORE, MORE. TAKE.OUT.MORE.

Damnit. They’re right. They’re right.

Thus lives the process through the characters that live through me.

This is it.

Back at it.

Because I can’t ignore this story. It won’t leave me alone. The noose is around my neck now. If the story lives, I live.

Sweet world of fiction, how you dishevel my soul.

How I take it because I’m a writer and that’s what we do.

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