|Posted by [email protected] on December 15, 2011 at 6:50 AM|
Done! Finished! Over! Finally, after a six week emotional investment plus an extra week and a half of typing, my 25th novel is complete. For as proud as I am of such an achievement, I can’t help but mourn its ending. It truly is bittersweet.
This was the first novel I’ve ever written in modern times. It was something in planning phases for 2 years as random notes scribbled in the back of a notebook. I was adamant that it had to be written in the fall to fully capture the season in words, and last fall, it was bumped out of the forefront of concentration by another idea that just had to find paper. This year I was determined to capture it.
I started writing it the week before my recital to have a distraction, and it surprised me how easy this one came out. Maybe it was the modern setting, or maybe because there was a bit of memoir mixed in. It flowed on its own and took the story to new unforeseen places, giving me characters that I loved to watch grow. As I’ve blogged about in the past, when I’m writing a novel, I’m committed to writing something every single day, and with this one, I was eager to be up at 4AM and get as much down as possible, to lose myself in the story and see where it wanted to go. It was my escape.
And now it’s done, and I’m sad. I can’t help it. To be fully invested in something that is novel-length, you really must attach a piece of your soul to the characters. At every moment, you are at their mercy. I can’t tell you how often in the past six weeks my mind floated off in the middle of most things and dragged me back into their world. I could have been watching a TV program with my husband or waiting to pick up my son from school, and though my body was present, I was truly in another world, seeing what I had just written that morning, envisioning what would happen next, letting my mind no longer be my own and letting the movie take over. A lot of my less than happy moods in the past six weeks were direct results of sharing consciousness with my characters. I picked up their frames of mind. If they were having a bad day, so was I by default. That’s just the way it works.
My characters are not me. They have minds of their own. They make decisions that would not necessarily be the ones I would make, and I have no choice but to follow them where they lead. They are their own people, and in a way, they become friends. And it’s so hard to let them go now that their story is over. People will read books sometimes and wish the story went on because they enjoyed the characters so much. Well, it’s even harder when you’ve created the characters to not continue life with them. I felt like the unseen angel at their side through every trauma they went through. When my heroine had a broken heart, I was the one with her; I was the one to share her pain and cry as I wrote it. I had to feel what she did and be in her head to truly understand it.
As my characters fell in love, I fell in love with them. I truly think that’s why I write romance; it’s falling in love over and over again and making new first times, new excitements, new experiences. It’s not just peeking into their love story; it’s living it from the inside. I already miss it.
So what will I do next? This story is said and done; hopefully, someday it will be as enjoyed by an audience as it is by me. Being the 5th in my angel series with the first one set to be published next year, it has awhile to wait, so for now, it will just be mine. I will look back at it and reread it and recall what I felt when I wrote it. Recall, not relive. Every new story brings new feelings. I can never fully recapture the ones I had when I wrote a particular novel. I’ll remember, but I won’t feel them again. It truly is a chapter in my life closed. A new one may begin, but it will never be the same. That’s why I cherish every foray into someone else’s life; it only comes once. It’s the bittersweet part of reality. And I have to simply trust that though I’m no longer living their lives with them, my characters have their happily ever after and will have it forever.