Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Romance Magicians

Letting Go

I'm not a particularly sentimental person. Yes, I still have my wedding dress and all of the cards my husband has given me over the years. Oh, and the dollar bill my great grandmother gave me when I was six, but...well, okay, maybe I'm a little sentimental.

When it comes to writing though, I try to stand back and look at my characters and stories as just what they are -- fiction. Created by me but not real people. I say the words "I try" because, darn it, I am sentimental about my guys and gals and their lives.

I created them out of nothing. Gave them life, fed them, clothed them, was even there for their first love making. Blushing a little bit, but I was there. Yes, I'm a bit of a voyeur too.

Even though I love my characters and my stories, I know at some point I have to let them go. I have more stories to tell. No, they've not sold. They're sitting there, waiting for the right time, right person, right market, right whatever...but I have to forget about them and write about other characters and other stories. I know I do. But it's hard.

I've written three manuscripts and I have yet to stop tinkering. So many writers will bravely admit that their first manuscript(s) are stinkers. I don't know that I'm there yet. I still go back and fall in love with my stories and characters when I read them again. Will I ever be able to let go? I don't know. I hope I can or do I?

What about you? Can you write a manuscript, call it finished and then go on to your next story? Or do you have trouble letting go? Do you go back and tinker and play or do you look toward your next great story?


Carla Swafford said...

My first two manuscripts I've tinkered with to the point they need to be re-written completely before they see the light of day ever again. I already know the third manuscript will be re-written sometime in the future. It's the "mother" of my vampire world. The last two I only touch when I send to a yet-another-editor. ::g::

To me it's kind of like when your children are going over to a friend's house to spend the night. You dress them in their nicest play clothes -- including new underwear -- and remind them of their manners. Then you hope you've done everything you should have and they will prove that you're a good parent. In this case, a good writer.

Paula said...

My first novel actually received a revision request from a Silhouette editor. It didn't sell because ultimately, it just didn't have enough conflict to sustain the plot. I don't anticipate revisiting that book, even though I still love the characters--Meg the tomboyish, decidedly non-domestic goddess and Mitch the flyboy who looks beyond her clumsiness and coltishness to appreciate the sexy, adorable woman she really is.

Books two and three had problems, too. I don't think book three can be saved, but I may revisit the bare bones of book two in the future.

Book four sold--finally, after almost a decade of tinkering. I thought I'd let those characters go, but Kris Robinette convinced me that Lily and McBride had life still in 'em. Thank goodness she did.

I do have trouble letting characters go, but I so enjoy getting to know new characters that I usually manage to break away.

Deborah Matthews said...

I actually don't have trouble letting go. By the time I finish a book, I can be sooo tired of those characters and I'm ready to move on. Like a man, the new is exciting and thrilling. For a time anyway. (g)