The problem is…

Typewriter - Once upon a time…I don’t know how to not write. I go into a kind of fugue state when I finish the first draft of a manuscript. Intellectually, I know I’m done for now. I’ve reached the end of the story, and I know to tuck it in the drawer and come back with enough perspective so I can wave my little magic wand and rewrite the kinks out of it.

But in my heart I want to keep playing with it. I want to write the backstory to the big first kiss that started it all. I want to do more character work; I want to know MORE. I want to go back into that document and clean up those messy lines I left. Around ten thirty, eleven at night, I get this pang. Because that’s when Charlie, my protagonist, wants to sit down with a few fingers of scotch, play his Frank Sinatra albums, and tell me stories. I miss him. I know that I’ll be with this universe of characters for six, seven, eight drafts. It’s not like I have to say goodbye right now. And maybe when I do that rewriting I’ll need to write new material and I’ll need to call on him again. (I do love when that happens!) But for now, I need the separation. I need the break. My writing mind is tired and needs to do other things.

Okay, I cried. It feels that real to me.

Maybe the novel isn’t the only thing that needs perspective. Maybe I do, too. I love my work, editing and writing, and the three months I spent working on the first draft of this story have been intensely rewarding and a continual surprise. I learned that I can (sort of) work from an outline. That I can (sort of) write a sequel. And that (maybe) I can write from the POV of several people I will never be. Although sitting in front of the keyboard day and night not only makes this Jill a dull girl but also means forking out extra for chiropractic adjustments.

So I’ll take my break. At least from this story. And then I’ll come back to my people, pour a virtual scotch, and see where they take me next.

About laurieboris

Writer, editor, proofreader, stand-up comedian in another life.
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9 Responses to The problem is…

  1. I completely ‘get’ this, Laurie. Thoise characters become so real. We know them better than we know the ‘real’ people in out lives sometimes – likely because we created them. Take that break. I have a feeling that the more you ‘need’ it the better the book will be.

  2. carolewyer says:

    I nodded all the way through this post. I cried when I finished my Amanda Wilson novels and when i said goodbye to Cinnamon Knight. I’m now heavily involved with another crowd and I know it’s going to be a painful goodbye when this book is finished.
    I agree with Yvonne. Take the break. After all, Charlie needs you to be fully functioning!

  3. melparish says:

    Such a heartfelt post.
    This has to be why so many writers do series – they just can’t say goodbye to their characters. Ian Rankin comes to mind. He eventually did retire his detective,Rebus, and started with a new character, only to bring Rebus back a couple of years later. I guess he found he couldn’t live without him!

  4. Perhaps you could just keep drinking the scotch and see where it takes you. :-) Seriously Laurie I know where you’re coming form. is a book ever really finished?
    Laurie.

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