There is a theory that, in the olden days, we called people who heard voices insane and put them in institutions. Now, we simply call them writers.
And yet, there is a certain amount of truth to that. When writing, the background noise in my brain is my characters chattering away. I can turn it off, and often do for hours at a time, but thoughts of the current or next scene are never far from my consciousness.
I’ve always said that I have kept writing because my characters kept talking, whether to me or to each other. They’ve been doing it for years. Just when I thought I was done, I wasn’t. Just when I thought I knew what was going on, I didn’t. They’ve surprised me time and time again.
And now they’ve stopped.
Monday night, I finished a first draft of what will be book six in my timeline. And for the first time, it truly feels like the end. I don’t have a story in mind for after this. I don’t see a reason to continue or anything else productive that I can do with these characters. Everything seems to have led to this point.
I assumed this day would come as a relief. Finally, they wouldn’t bother me when I was working, or wake me up in the middle of the night with the next big, important conversation. This was supposed to be a good thing.
Guess I should have been more care with what I wished for.
Because now I’m just at odds and ends. I don’t know what to do without their chattering. All day, I have felt like someone I have talked to every day for the past four years has suddenly disappeared. There’s nobody to text, no one to call, no way to contact them on social media.
It would seem that Seth has well and truly gone off the grid.
I’ve been assured this is normal, that I will make new fictional friends. Perhaps I will. But I also like to think that, as I edit, my old friends will come back. I have a lot of editing to do, plenty of time for them to show up and let me know where I went wrong (spoiler alert: it’s pretty often).
So today, I am feeling this. I watched a favorite funny movie, ate some ice cream, and allowed myself to mourn. That may sound like I’m overstating things, but I promise that I am not. Make no mistake, this is a loss. Given how much of a distraction these people have been, both from work and from world events, it is a significant loss at that.
Thanks, guys. It’s a been a real fun ride.