Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Today, I'm filling in for Rose Dee who is in a very busy time. She will be taking my spot next week.
I don't know about you, but I become teary when I say goodbye to family and friends after they've come to visit. Last Easter weekend was no exception when our son visited with us. We had a time of deep sharing of our fears and hopes and dreams. A time to go deeper into our relationship and learn new things about each other. The sharing moved me deeply. We'd crossed another point of no return in our bonding. When Dan left I cried. He laughed lovingly. I was being sentimental, again.
As writers we become intimate with our characters. We share their high and low times. We conquer mountains, swim oceans and enter into deep dark places with them. We share secrets and argue with them in the same way we do with real people.
What happens to our characters in our minds when we finish a book? I like that they continue to live on between the covers of our books. I would like to think that is the end of those characters and I can move on to creating the next family to write about, but I can't. The characters became living breathing people. I've spent a year or more with them. Learning their likes and dislikes, their fears and hopes for the future. They've become close friends, the type we can argue with and still come up smiling at the end of the day and be stronger in our relationship.
I don't know about you, but I have one heck of a time trying to let go of my characters. I go through a grieving process and have to pray for guidance and strength to let go of these 'people'. A year or more later, I'm still thinking about them wondering how they're getting along and what challenges they're facing. I ask them if they want me to write another story about them. They answer, 'No, we're happy'.
Although, Kizza and Justin from African Hearts want me to write more about them. They're going to go through some tough times. I say yes, and immediately they come to life in my mind again. This is an exciting time and I can't wait until I get pen and paper to draft what they're telling me. I'm also pleased I'm not saying goodbye to them. We're going to have fun again.
Do you find it hard to say goodbye to your characters? Have they become so ingrained in you that they become real friends and you need to go through a grieving process?

12 comments:

  1. Hi Laura,
    I'm sure we all know exactly what you mean. I used to hate saying goodbye to the characters I read about in other peoples' novels, which is one of my major reasons for deciding to write novels of my own.
    I'm glad you're continuing the story of Justin and Kizza. I wondered what would become of them at University.

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    1. Yes, Paula, that's my next project. At last, they are pushing for me to tell their story. :)

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  2. I can't say that I've ever experienced this. By the time I've done the ninth editing pass, I'm quite ready to kill the characters off! Or maybe I just don't write very likeable characters.

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    1. Hah, get it out of your system Peter, by killing off the nasty ones. It gives a real sense of satisfaction!

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    2. Hi Peter,

      My second novel was one I wanted to kill off the characters. It took me years to write. I said goodbye for a short time, but because the book is going through editing at the moment they are coming back lingering in the background waiting for the editing to be finished. :)

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  3. I know exactly what you mean, Laura! I've had such a great time with the characters in my trilogy, I'm thinking of doing another series with some of their offspring. And like you, I know so much about these fictional characters that I have to remind myself they didn't actually live. Ah, yet they did in a way, because they're a compilation of so many real life people,including myself.

    So get to work, gal, and give us another story!

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    1. Hi Rita, I'm glad you're having fun with your characters, too. Two more stories coming, plus sequel to African Hearts. So enjoying this journey! :)

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  4. I hav eread books in which the characters are so real to me that I grieve closing the last page. I understand what you mean. Now, if only i could write fiction with ease.

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    1. Your words are music to an author's ears, Linda. Our characters becoming real is what we all strive for in our writing. Yes, it isn't easy to achieve.

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  5. Hi Laura, I'm looking forward to reading Justin & Kizza's story :) During the editing process my characters can feel like house guests who have overstayed their welcome, lol. I haven't had to 'let go' of my characters because I know at some stage in the future I will be revising their story.

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    1. Hi Narelle, You made me laugh 'my characters can feel like house guests who have overstayed their welcome'.

      A big thanks to everyone for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

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  6. I love my characters as well. Thank you for a great blog, Laura. And for swapping with me. Xx

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