The Joy of the New

I just finished a new story, one unlike any other I’ve written thus far. I can’t explain the feeling, the excitement, the sense of teetering between promise and trepidation at hopes of getting it in print. If you write, you know it. If you don’t, no words will suffice.

The characters in my tales are always real to me. I could describe to you their physical appearance, their emotional makeup, their mindset. I could predict what they might do in almost any situation. Usually. Sometimes they surprise me.

The same with the settings. I see the surroundings. Smell the fragrances or aromas or stench. Hear the sounds and noises and voices and laughter. Feel the heat or the cold or the wind or the rain. On occasion, it’s at least in part because I’ve been to a similar place. Not always, though. Can’t say I’ve ever been to another planet. Not yet, anyway.

Whether I love them or despise them, the characters and their settings take over a large portion of my thoughts when I’m writing them. Earlier today, Bobby asked if I wanted cheese on my burger. It took me a full minute to answer. I had to come back from the cloud forest to do so. It’s often hard to leave the characters and settings behind! I read once that Rowling said she was sad when Harry Potter’s story was finished. It felt like she was leaving behind a family. I know a tiny taste of that. I often think, “Damn. What next?”

It’s sometimes a few days before I can really pull my head totally out of what I just finished, so there’s usually no question about moving immediately to something else. In a way, it’s like my weekend. I have a couple of days to do all the stuff I should have done but didn’t while I was embedded in another world. I’ve learned to take advantage of that time.

For this story, I’ll set it aside like I did the last one. A few weeks from now, I’ll pull it out, read it again, tweak it and start looking for a publisher.

But now, in this moment, I am basking. Thoughts of my characters and their story still swirl in my head. It’s hard not to keep picking away at the draft. I just have to distract myself with other tasks.

Anyway, when you read this, celebrate with me. Have a beer, or a glass of wine, or a really good brownie. Whatever your favorite treat. Whether or not it ever gets published, it’s a completed draft. That is never a bad thing.

{LATER: Okay, it’s a little over two weeks since I actually penned this post. As I said, I’d only just finished the story referenced above (which is still awaiting the perfect title, but which am tentatively calling “Flight of Fancy”). As you’ll note, I said it’s usually a few days before I can move on to another project. Which just goes to prove there’s an exception to every rule. Not an hour after I finished the draft of this blog post, another story exploded fully developed in my head. I sat back down at the computer and penned it all in a few hours. (That one is still awaiting its re-read, too, and is tentatively called “A Murder of Crows.”)

I’ll keep you posted on how they do in queries.}

2 Replies to “The Joy of the New”

  1. Well, Drema, pretty much every word I write these days is an entirely new thing because I am writing fiction and I have not only never written fiction but have been convinced for decades that I couldn’t write fiction. And you’re right, the excitement of finding you can make this entirely surprising thing is enormous.

    And something you write about here is probably old news to someone who writes fiction normally, but has been an epiphany for me–the incredible identification with the characters. They don’t leave you alone while you’re writing and when you reach the last sentence they haunt you for weeks. I am interested to read that you set right back in writing after the first story.

    Your blogs are a tremendous help to me as I start out on this fiction-writing journey. Thank you for posting.

    1. Dean, you’re so right! I still hear characters in my head from years ago…. sometimes a whisper, sometimes a shout, but they become such a part of you when you write their stories, don’t they?

      Glad my words are a help! This is a competitive business, and it takes a lot of time and focus to pursue it. It’s good to know one isn’t alone on the journey!

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