It always baffles me that writers generally create a new group of characters for each story or novel that they write. What a peculiar idea. Do characters get used up after only one story? Is that all they have in them?
Robert Altman said, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith get married, they have problems, they get back together, and they live happily ever after. End of the movie. Two weeks later, he kills her, grinds her body up, feeds it to his girlfriend, who dies of ptomaine poisoning, and her husband is prosecuted and sent to the electric chair for it--but here's our little story with a happy ending. What is an ending? There's no such thing. Death is the only ending."
That's what I think. I've been writing about Katherine, for one example, for most of my life, and she's still only in her forties. Probably plenty of good years (and good stories) left in her. And this is even more true of Jan Sleet and Marshall, who are younger than she is. And Vicki and SarahBeth are still in their teens.
But, for some reason, everybody else does it the other way.
[This blog post was continued here.]