I’m not sure about other short story writers, but characters I’ve written about before sometimes come knocking on the door to my subconscious wanting me to continue on with their stories. I may think I’m done with them, but they are not necessarily done with me.
Like many other writers I’ve spoken to, I know many things about the characters that don’t fit into whatever I am writing about them such as where they were born and the mascot at their high school. I, and the writers I’ve spoken with, believe knowing that sort of information about the characters makes the story about them deeper and better. Apparently some characters are not satisfied with having just part of their story told. A short story usually takes the form of a slice of time from an entire lifetime, i.e., a single incident from a life full of events. Of course it might be that the characters have additional adventures in whatever universe they live in even if that universe exists only between my ears.
One family first came to my attention when I wrote a short story about a step brother and a step sister during the historical period known as “Bleeding Kansas.” Their parents were barely mentioned. That was not satisfactory. First the mother and later the father explained to me how they and their children came to be a family. Naturally that brought in the birth parents on each side. The birth parents were dead before the time of the short story but neither of them thought that was sufficient reason to exclude them. I have to admit knowing the Abolitionist preacher and the pioneer woman expanded my knowledge. And how could I omit the plague of grasshoppers, the bank robbers or the rabid wolf? Eventually even I figured out they wanted a novel. They knew it long before I did.
I cannot predict who will return next. I have a brilliant child and her not-so-quick adult male friend. I keep expecting them to return, but so fat they’ve been mute.
Does anyone else have characters hanging around the subconscious who pop up unexpectedly?