I finished my last project, Parasite around mid-October after spending over five months in the belly of the beast, so to speak, as I wrote, and rewrote the story to create the finished product. I was at that point many writers speak of, that lull between projects that for most writers, especially myself, left me feeling aimless as I cast about for the next thing to do. Not for a lack of ideas as there are currently several different stories vying for my attention.
I had spent over five months fully invested in the story and the characters, their individual hopes and dreams, theirs fears had become my own. I rode the emotional roller coaster that was my assorted characters lives. Not once, twice, or even three times, but many times as I strove to bring them to life. I believe I succeeded, but truthfully that remains for the reader to decide.
You see once I hit the publish button, and released my creation into the world, the characters I had created were no longer my own. They now belong to anyone who picks up a copy and opens the story to take a peek inside. They now wait for the reader to give them life, and I worry incessantly that maybe I wasn't honest enough to the tale. Only time will tell.
Now I find myself upon the brink of embarking on another adventure. You see when you write in the long form, such as novels and novellas, these are not things you nibble at a little here and there while you work towards completion. No, for me at least, writing a novel requires me to dive headlong into the story, to fully immerse myself in the characters, the place, the reason for the story's whole existence.To become one with the story and the characters, to feel what they feel, to experience, if only in my mind, what they have experienced. To live as they live.
While it may sound exciting, there is a downside, and that is the loss of self during the process of creation, I'm still there, physically, as I go through the motions of daily life as a model husband and dedicated worker (don't let my boss see this, he might loose it laughing at the idea), but then again I'm not really there. I'm in the story, and though I'm not sitting at my desk pounding on the keyboard, I'm still writing even if it's only in my mind. Thankfully I have an understanding wife for those moments when it seems I'm a million miles away, I'd do anything for her, short of giving up writing, but she'd never ask me to do that.