Ever read a book and have a really hard time not thinking about the characters or leaving their world when it ends? Yeah? Me too.
As I write this, I am trying really, really, really hard to move past my first book, Kept, and into Shelf Life, my work-in-progress. But I’m still marketing Kept and doing blog tours and promo, and it is difficult to move on to new characters when I love my old characters so much.
“It’s been great, Miska and Dillan. No, seriously. You guys were wonderful. Your dialogue, your character arcs, your setting — wish I could live where you do! — you guys were perfect. It’s not you; it’s me. Honest. I’ve got these new friends now — Kyla, Brett, Lacey, Adam, Aurora. I need to spend more time with them. Like . . . all my time. So . . . yeah. It’s been real, but I gotta go.”
Moving on is not easy.
(And writers are weird.)
I tell myself I’ll love my new characters just as much once I get to know them better. Give Kyla and Brett a chance, Sally! They’ve got things to say, important things. If you don’t tell their story, who will?
I need to cross-stitch that on a pillow. Or tattoo it on my forearm. Either one.
It might be that the fear of failure is holding me back, the fear that this book won’t live up to reader expectations, that this story isn’t as good as the previous one — no matter what I do. It might be that I need to stay away from Facebook or get my desk cleaned up or get taxes done or . . .
It might be that I need to put all my fears and angst aside and just write. Turn off the internet, get out for the night so I’ll feel guilty if I don’t write (since my husband is home with the kids), and listen to these new characters who have been patiently waiting their turn.
I might need to remind myself that there’s nothing more fun than giving a voice to people who don’t exist and finding out that there are real people who benefited from what these fictional heroes and heroines went through.
Yes, it might be that I need to make sure I’m doing everything God wants me to do — not just by writing but in living. For reasons only God fully knows, He’s called me into a writing life, a life made up by fictional characters who often challenge me right where I need it. And, maybe, where a reader needs it too.
How cool is that?
So if you’ll excuse me, I need to get my desk straightened, taxes started, and this rough draft moving! Because I need to learn whatever it is these new characters have to teach me.
Let’s talk! What book/characters have you had the hardest time leaving behind? Or what book won’t you leave behind and reread often?