…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.