There is a trend that exists in the pattern of my writing. As I venture toward the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”, you would think I would be dancing a jig. However, it’s not that cut and dry. Coming to the end of anything, even if the finish line has been your goal for some time, can be exciting and painful.
When I’m working on something new, a WIP, and the story itself is finished, the plot is fat and juicy, and the characters have become part of my family, life, and psyche, then depression strikes! I am always sad to see their tale ending, and disappointed that we won’t share any more stolen moments.
These are the characters that have driven me from bed in the middle of the night, made me pull out a notebook in the grocery store, or caused me to speak of them to others as if they actually resided in my home. I can’t honestly compare them to my children, but if you’ve ever had a dear friend suddenly move away, you know how this feels.
At first, you and the friend will call frequently, and catch up by email and texts. However, as time rolls by, you both become consumed by other things, and inevitably you are only reconnecting on rare occasions via a rushed phone call, or hello sent through the friend of a friend.
The same is true for the characters created in the mind of a writer. When the story is complete you still have rushed moments together during the editing phase, and the author uses this time to steal their moments of intimacy. Eventually, the characters are pushed aside by the ones in your new work, and you, are only reminded of the bond you share when someone new reads your work and calls them back to mind.
It all sounds a bit absurd to someone who has never birthed a novel, I’m sure. I’ve actually gone so far as to text my best friend as one of my characters, to make sure their dialogue comes across naturally. Yes, I’m medicated, and yes I’m mental. 🙂
As I have been winding down on the editing stages of The Keepers, I’ve realized there is a bit of self-sabotage which plays into actually finishing a project. If I can find a viable excuse to justify lingering on the commas and typos, I can still sneak in time with the characters I admire.
The Keepers journey began two and half years ago. It was the first time I put electronic pen to paper after the death of my mother. That being the case, the characters created were all connected to a part of me that still grieved. They are complicated and delicious, and every moment I’ve spent with them has been a tremendous blessing for me.
In a short time, I will be working on something else, and Justin and Jess will go on vacation, until they are willing to write a sequel. I just wish I could bump into them as they head out for work, or that a postcard would appear from their latest destination, with news of their adventures.
Part of me is dancing for joy, because I can move on, and perhaps the world will have the opportunity to spend time with them. However, while it lasted, it was lovely having them all to myself, and having them grace me with their story.