The past month I've been hashing out a proposal with my agent, and although I gave it my best shot twice, it didn't work for her or me. It kept bugging me, and after I asked her to read it we talked and worked out what was wrong with it. The flaws are such that I have to scrap the proposal altogether and start over from scratch.
This doesn't happen very often to me, but when it does I struggle to let go as much as any writer out there. Here's one of the reasons why in this case:
Julian is an attractive man. Not really handsome, but not the type of guy you can eye-skim and forget. He brings this presence with him whenever he walks into a room, like a captain standing on the deck of a ship far out to sea; steely of eye and spine, ready to make decisions that cause armies to retreat and governments to collapse. He didn’t look at you; he evaluated your threat potential. That kind of thing.
I had fun getting to know Julian for this proposal. He wasn't like any male character I've written so far, and he came out beautifully on the page. Writing him was like dancing with him -- close, smooth, fun. Bit of a thrill in several places because he is so different for me. But now Julian has to go back into the filing cabinet, in the (thankfully) small section where I put failed proposals.
Am I done with this proposal? Yep. Am I done with Julian? Maybe not. That's the great thing about ideas, and characters, and concepts. Even when they're flawed, I can always go back to the best of them, turn them around in my head, and try something different. Maybe next time I dance with Julian, he'll end up in print. Doing it like this -- saving him for another time versus deleting him -- also helps me move on, oddly enough.
What helps you disconnect from a flawed character, idea or proposal?