Last week, after much editing, polishing and re-shaping, I sent my latest book off to my editor. Every time that happens, I feel a sense of loss. Part of the loss is saying goodbye to characters I've spent so much time with, but the other part is the loss of the dream. When I started the book it was with a spark of excitement. A flash of inspiration. THIS book was going to be so much better than the other books because THIS time I had a sure-fire idea, characters that were so real in my mind that I heard and saw them, a setting that was unbeatable. Plus I had learned so much from the last book I had done.
But the other part of the sense of loss is reality. As I start working with the real characters, the sure-fire idea, the perfect setting, things kind of take off on me. The story grows and expands, yes, but much like a rising lump of bread dough. Whenever I tried to gather it up, control the story, I feel like I've lost something in the process. The story seems to sag in the middle, change shape and has become something I hadn't envisioned at all. Before I was published, I heard authors say their books had taken on a life of their own, but I didn't believe it. Until the same thing happened to me. It's like that perfect picture in your mind changes as you try to put in on paper. The story seems to find another shape, different from the initial idea. That can be fun and exciting, but it can also be frustrating. Depends on how much of a control freak one is.
Anyhow, my book is done and when I'm done this piece, I can go back to the new project I've just started. It's such a good idea! And I LOVE my characters. And though the last book didn't quite turn out the way I hoped, I know this one will. I just know it. After all, I've learned so much from the last book I wrote.