Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Miss My Characters...

Has this ever happened to you? After the relief and accomplishment of finishing a novel, after the joy of penning that final sentence, I start to miss it. That daily grind of finding the Muse, of hearing my fingers tap at the keys, of the creative process itself. Mostly, I miss that "world" - those characters, those people I've grown to know so well. I'm not visiting them on a daily basis anymore, and that's a little bit sad.

Now, of course, I'll need to go back and edit the novel soon. But it's not the same. Editing is tedious and time-consuming. Necessary, but not always fun. Or terribly creative. The sad part is this - the story that I've told, in its origin, will not be told again. I'm finished, said all I needed to say. And, even though I'll revisit the characters in future books (because it's a series), it won't be the same. It'll be a different story, altogether. It won't be this story.

I guess missing your characters is a good sign though, right? Perhaps it means that the author has invested so much of her time, herself, into these characters, that there's actually a tiny void when the process comes to an end. Hopefully, that also means that the reader will experience the void, as well (meaning, that they invested in the characters, too, and actually gave a darn about how their lives turned out). In the end, if we didn't care about our characters, it wouldn't be so difficult to read that last page, shut the book on their lives, say good-bye.

So, maybe missing your characters is a positive thing, after all.


  1. I haven't finished a novel yet, however I am sure when I approach that stage I will feel very much like you. I find that right now I am working with three stories and at times I miss a character or an idea I had come up with so I revisit them.

    I think it's a positive thing for sure!

  2. Jen, I agree - I like to revisit my characters, too - in fact, because I'm missing the process itself, I'm going to go back and start editing sooner than I'd expected (I was going to give myself a week's break - nawwww, can't do it, lol).

  3. I was only recently complaining to a friend about this! I finished a novel late last year, and have just landed a three-book contract with a publisher.

    However, they requested that the book be changed quite a lot, and in turn I simply decided to rewrite it with a new character. Now I kind of miss my first, and will have to be 'acquainted' with this new one! As odd as it sounds, you do get rather attached to your characters.

  4. Oh my gosh, Elle, CONGRATS on your book deal - that's sooooo cool! Keep me posted on things! I'd love to hear about the process.

    Yes, I had something a little similar happen - this agent (who's still considering my manuscript) asked for re-writes months ago. Well, in the process of re-writing, I decided to keep the character, but I changed MUCH about her - marital status, occupation, even a bit of her personality. Oddly, I ended up liking her even better than my original character! I just found her more interesting...

  5. I've never written a novel but I think 'missing your character' shows that you truly got into the heart and soul and mind of that person. Of course you could always use that character in a sequel or consider a series where the reader knows the character as well as you do.