Welcome to SCRAWL SPACE, Greg’s blog. Here he waxes eloquent on all things relating to writing and the writing life. In other words, it’s where he loves to waste his time and that of his readers. He’s very happy you’ve stopped by. You, too, Dad.
After spending ten months with my main characters – living inside their heads (and they inside mine), experiencing their fear and excitement and joy and sorrow – it’s over. The last page has been written. All I can do is look back and remember.
Okay, and edit.
Still, going through my manuscript and making tweaks here and there isn’t the same as hanging out with my characters in real time. It’s like going to visit a former lover soon after a breakup. You can take back some things you said, and you can say some things you should have said the first time around, and it definitely helps, but deep down you already know your magic time together is over.
I miss how my protagonist used to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me something vital. I miss sitting down with him and figuring out how the hell we were going to get him where he needed to go. Do what he needed to do. Overcome what he needed to overcome.
I miss putting him through hell in order to save him.
And I miss his friends. His enemies, too. I miss the whole story. Creating it, living it.
They say the best way to get over a lost love is to find a new one. And I have. I’ve already started working on my next novel. In fact, I’d started fooling around with it even before I finished my last one. So I guess you could say I was unfaithful. But in my defense, I’ve always had an unspoken open relationship with my novels. That said, it is a bit one-sided; I’m allowed to see other stories, but my stories aren’t allowed to see other authors.
Even though I have met another manuscript, the pain of having finished my last one still lingers. I keep seeing the faces and hearing the voices of the characters I’ve come to know so well. Sometimes I even call out their names when I’m getting busy with my new novel, which is awkward for everyone involved.
I realize that, in time, I will come to love my new characters as much as I do my older, more fully developed ones. And that helps to take some of the pain away. But I also know one day in the not-too-distant future I’ll have to say goodbye to those new characters, too. And then I’ll be right back where I am now. Missing my beloved imaginary friends. Wondering what they’re up to. Hoping they’ll somehow be able to move on without me. And I without them.
NOTE: I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on when the novel I recently finished writing is actually available, which should be sometime between Spring/Summer 2016 and the winter of my discontent. Of course, you could always kill the time by picking up a copy of my LAST novel. Just saying.