By: Melissa McPhail
Last week I finished penning the third book in my epic fantasy series and sent it off to beta readers. Paths of Alir was two years in the planning/writing, and the final clocked in around 300,000 words. (It is an epic fantasy. Providing a series is well-crafted, anything short of 250k and epic fantasy fans somewhat turn up their noses). A well-written novel of any genre and length will present characters the reader can identify with, but let me tell you, by the time you’re three books into a series of this depth, you and your readers are deeply invested.
Investment is exactly the point—and the problem. I sent off the manuscript last week expecting to feel that remembered sense of accomplishment, and…
Nope. Nothing like it. Instead of a warm glow, I experienced only a haunting sense of loss.
I don’t know if every writer encounters this agonizing moment upon departing the world of their novel. Perhaps it’s worse when you’re square in the middle of a five-book epic fantasy that’s already pulled nearly a million words out of you. Or perhaps it’s no different from finishing one novel that you poured your heart into for two years, or ten.
Writers often equate their passion for the craft with obsession, even at times addiction. I’ve heard writing a novel analogized as a mistress who jealously demands your creative attention. These are justifiable parallels. As the author, you become truly intimate with your characters. You spend all of your free time with them and (to be honest) quite a lot of time that wasn’t yours to devote (i.e. when you should’ve been focusing on some other task). I regularly warned people in my “real” life that I was only about 60% there. It was a generous estimate—40% was often more true.
In looking at the nature of this author-novel relationship, certain things should’ve been quite obvious to me, yet it never occurred to me until I closed the door on my world how deeply I was in love with it. So much so that pulling mentally out of the world (even knowing it necessary to gain perspective) felt agonizing. I felt like I’d broken up with my novel.
Suddenly I stood in that moment we’ve all experienced: you’ve just shut the door behind a departing lover…perhaps experiencing that duality of conscience in which you start second-guessing your decision to eject this person from your life…realizing with a visceral and all-encompassing regret how much the other person meant to you… I had closed the door on my novel and stood leaning my forehead against that door feeling all of these same emotions.
It should’ve occurred to me sooner that my novel (or in my case, my entire series) and I had been having an intimate relationship. Mayhap I’m the last author on earth to figure this out. In any case, it got me to thinking about the parallels between our novels and our loves. Here are five ways finishing your novel is like breaking up with your significant other:
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Read the full article HERE!
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
- Creating Stunning Character Arcs, Pt. 9: The First Half of the Second Act - Helping Writers Become Authors http://ow.ly/w728Q
- 12 Types of Blog Posts to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog | Social Media Examiner http://ow.ly/w72gq
- The Creative Penn Blog: Helping you write, publish and market your book | The Creative Penn http://ow.ly/w736e
- RT @elizabethscraig: 10 Things 1 Author Would Like To Say To Young Writers: http://ow.ly/vVLHO @ChuckWendig (lang.)
- 5 Strategies To Make Your Short Story Stand Out In A Crowd - Writer's Relief, Inc. http://ow.ly/w74Xp
- Prime, Kindle Drive Amazon Sales | The Passive Voice | http://ow.ly/w76rJ
- Guest Post: The Burden of Your Novel’s Opening Scene http://ow.ly/w76Nr
- 5 Ways Blogging Sells Books | Molly Greene: Writer http://ow.ly/w77WZ
- Should You Move Blog Subscribers To MailChimp? | Molly Greene: Writer http://ow.ly/w782h
- How To Send A Power Tweet That Increases Engagement by 400% - Jeffbullas's Blog http://ow.ly/w78cd
- Graphic Design - Find the Right Imagery for Social Media Branding : MarketingProfs Article http://ow.ly/w78KG
- 5 Ways to Create a Social Media Call to Action That Converts - The Canva Blog http://ow.ly/w78X3
- A TWITTER BOOK MARKETING PLAN - WHY? - Indie Book Promo http://ow.ly/w7aZP
- Blogging: Tips, Tricks, and Knowing Your Goals | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author http://ow.ly/w8kn0
- Lyrical Press – Romance Roundtable – Writing Sex Scenes http://ow.ly/w8kJA