“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
-- Thomas Jefferson
I reached the end of my revisions last night. Though I still need to reread book two one more time to make sure I didn't mess anything up, I'm officially calling it done. Reaching The End is an amazing feeling, which most of you already know. But for those of you that don't, it truly is one of the most bittersweet moments a writer will ever have.
As I was rereading the resolution last night, I found myself once again having a hard time letting the book go, even though I will see it again in copy edits and galleys and reread it so many times I'll once again be sick of it. But the creation, the revising, the whole "sending them on to do something exciting" part is pretty much done. And that's the part that's hard to say goodbye to. These characters - even the villains who may be light-years different from me - all have a part of me somewhere inside, and as I get ready to send this to my editor, I can't help think it's sort of like sending my babies off into the world to fend for themselves.
Luckily, in my case, these main characters will pop up in book three in very minor places, so I know I'll see and "create" for them again, though it will never be the same as when they were central in their book. So for me this isn't really the end, but a pause. When I get to the end of book three though? That will be a different story. I've fallen in love with the main characters in book three (who were secondary characters in books one and two) and letting them (and the rest) go then will be difficult for me.
Kendra and I were chatting the other night and she posed a question that stuck with me. I'm paraphrasing here, but the gist was, "How many books does a writer really have in her?" We have all probably asked ourselves this question. What will I write next? Will it be as good as the last one? What if I don't have any more books left in me??? I've been thinking about this a lot, especially because since I sold, my brain has been mush. I could see the three books in my contract, but past that? Nothing. Even ideas I had before selling seemed to have dissipated into thin air. But luckily, in the past month new ideas have been popping. New characters, new locations, new stories. Yes, the end is always bittersweet, as I mentioned above, but the wonderful thing about writing is that it is ongoing. Characters will come and go but the writing endures. And the end isn't really the end of the line for any of us, but a new beginning. A chance to do something different. To write a new story, to create new characters, to build an entirely different world. I've said before that I don't particularly enjoy the beginning of a new book, but that's not entirely true. I don't generally enjoy writing the beginning of a book because it's the one section I have to work and rework to get just right. But I do love the idea of a new story. The possibilities. The excitement. The not-knowing-exactly-where-this-may-go feeling that brings us all right back around to page one time and time again.
Writing for me really is cyclical. Sure, we have beginnings and ends, but each just brings us back to the other if we work hard enough. Never ending. Unbreakable. Each one a knot that ties the rest together.
How do you view the end?