Well, now that I've decided what my next project will be...I just have to start. The MC is a girl, but I'm struggling with the age. She's probably in middle school, but the subject leans towards possibly high school. Unfortunately for this child, her life is not great. She's been through more in her short life than anybody deserves in an entire lifetime, yet she's resilient until...her teacher discovers that she is dying. That the strongest, most level-headed person in her world is sick, scared, and not going to be around throws the MC for a loop. Can she become the strong one? Will this be the straw that breaks the camel's back, so to speak? I don't know yet, either. She hasn't let me in on that part of her psyche at this time; she doesn't trust me yet.
I guess that's one of my weird quirks as a writer. My characters are real in my mind. I get to know them quite well. When I wrote my adult suspense novel, I knew a character was going to die. He wasn't a very nice guy; in fact, he was a jerk, a bully, and a man who was easy to despise. Nevertheless, killing him off was something I felt grief over. Since he was beyond redemption, though, I didn't grieve too much. Do other writers do this with their characters, too?