My Characters; My Friends.
I’ve finished the first 50 pages of Indigo for the WeBook contest and submitted it for judging. It will most likely be a week or so before I start seeing feedback from readers, and my anxiety is palpable. It’s always nerve-racking to send your creative babies out into the world, but this one is especially difficult for some reason. There is always fear of rejection – I think that’s natural for any author, but Indigo gets my blood pumping so differently than Ghosting did. He’s been in my head for so long, nagging at me to get out, and now that I’m doing that – it’s like telling a deeply personal secret to the world. It’s not as though I’m baring my soul, or standing naked in the middle of a mall, but close - I think that’s a pretty close analogy.
When you spend countless hours thinking, writing, reading, re-reading, and editing the crap out of something, it’s hard not to personalize it. It’s even harder not to internalize the characters. They live in your head – and you’re the biographer telling their story. You want to get it right, and you want to do right by them. After all, they are trusting you to tell it correctly. That’s a big responsibility for an author to undertake.
My own imagination brought them to life, sure. But now that they’re here in my head, they’ve evolved into something somewhat real. They have their own personalities, senses of humor, vices, mannerisms, histories, endearing qualities, and character flaws (pun intended). No, I’ve not gone mad with invisible friends. I don’t talk to them - out loud anyway, but they are always present in some way. It’s hard to explain fully. It truly is one of the wonders of being a writer – the ability to create these completely intangible, yet concrete people and scenarios. And as a writer, you live with them almost all the time, whether you want to or not.
So all I can do now is wait for the feedback and criticisms from the contest reviewers with a mixture of excitement and dread. It’s a horrible combination, yet delicious in its own way. In the meantime I’ll just continue writing as though Indigo is the best thing since Shakespeare penned his first sonnet. Until the bubble gets burst by a critic, it’s a good feeling to have.
Original Publication Date: 6/11/12