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The blackest nights behind . . . the light of day ahead

Monday, 27 September 2010  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Okay today’s coffee is Starbuck’s Toffee Mocha (a skinny one, of course–starting to wonder if regular would taste the same *sighs*) and it’s pretty darn good. Anyway, about the title of this blog. I’ve decided (last time I swear) that I will not revise my manuscript any more. I’m sending it out on its final query quest. My decision to say goodbye, brought about a mourning process, I wasn’t ready for.

I wore black all of last week (okay, most of my clothes are black), I pulled up passages to visit my characters one last time, and I archived all documents and pictures pertaining to said story. A cloud of depression rolled over me as I researched setting and characters for my new project. It just didn’t help.

I realized my characters in my finished project had become real to me. I sat down with them every morning, drinking coffee and having conversations with them. I cried with them. I laughed with them. They’d become so important to me that it was like attending a funeral when I said a tearful goodbye to them. So I forced myself to move on, peeking over my shoulder as I went to make sure they were okay. They were. They probably didn’t even notice I had gone.

As I wrote the first scenes of my new project, it felt awkward. I didn’t know these characters as well. It felt weird and clumsy talking to them. The setting wasn’t as exciting to me. I deleted it three times. I wondered if I could ever love any characters as much as I loved the ones in the novel that I’d just put away. Could I care as much, understand them as much, or love them as much? By Thursday, the darkest night, I felt doomed.

Then glorious Friday arrived and the light shot through the window, illuminating a new beginning. I changed the name of my characters in the new project, found a better setting, and wrote for nine hours straight. They breathed. They cried. They drove me to write more and more. I felt like I’d said goodbye to an old lover that was dragging me down and said hello to a new one who was showing me how much better I could be. I’m obsessed with my new relationships, happily skipping in the sunlight with them. Getting to know them. To love them. To follow them on a new journey. One I hope will lead me to my ultimate goal — published.

But here’s the thing, even though I’ve moved on, I secretly wish that my finished project would find a publishing home so that I can write many more adventures with those characters. So how do you move on from the characters you love so much?

That’s it. Slurp! Okay, even though this coffee is the skinny version it rocks!

Filed: Misc

  • aaww am happy for u and good luck with finding a pub house that will love them almost as much as u do.
    You wrote for 9 straight hours? somebody give this woman a medal or maybe another mocha will do.
    Have fun getting to know your new characters

  • Mmmm, the coffee sounds yummy! You’re right – our posts ARE similar. Reading yours makes me feel better. thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • coffeelvnmom says:

    Brenda – I totally get what you mean about wanting to spend more time with the characters. So good luck to you on your query quest!

    Love the “under the influence of coffee” title. =) And no, I don’t think the “real” thing tastes as good as the “skinny”. I always order nonfat, but when the barista asks if I want sugar free, I have to say no. Gotta enjoy it a little bit, right?;)

    Have fun getting to know those new characters!


  • Oh my Brenda your coffee makes my coffee jealous hahaha

  • Misty Waters says:

    I have yet to move on from my very first characters! I’ve created several since and find that I always go back and peek in on them . . . pet them a little . . . coo. I wish I could sleep with them.

    And seriously, good luck in the query process! I hope your characters have better luck than mine did. (They’re getting impatient at this point and watching the new guys walk by on their way to my outbox in their shiny new clothes. It’s sad, really.)

  • I have to dive into a new project to fully let go. It’s so hard when you love them so much!

    Toffee Mocha – Yummy! Fingers crossed for your final query quest!

  • I can only imagine that feeling. Congrats on making the big step–and for going through all of the mourning. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out.


  • Rose Cooper says:

    You’re not really saying goodbye to your characters. You’re only saying “see ya later.” Once you find an editor, a home for your ms, you will be reunited with your characters and revising with them once again. You’ll be headed on a whole new road and sharing a new experience with them of publication. It will never be final with your characters.

    With your new story, it takes time, but once you get that same familiarity as you did with your last, you’ll have just as much love and tears to share and it will be a never ending journey as you find homes for each of your babies. Its a fantastic reward at the end of the rainbow ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! Writers are some of the most supportive and fun people in the world! I <3 you all!

  • I think saying good-bye to beloved characters is like saying good-bye to a beloved neighbor, it hurts. But you meet up again (your ms will be a book you’ll be signing), it’s never quite the same but the warmth’s still there, plus a whole lotta pride. Good luck with that pub house!

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