I have just finished going through the copy edit for Portraits of Celina. In the next week or so, the manuscript will be typeset, so apart from a final proofread, the work is done and soon Portraits of Celina will be a book. (Not out until April 2013 though.)
I should be excited - and I am - but I am also feeling bereft. Why? That is what I have been asking myself the past couple of weeks.
Mostly, I think it is because I am sad to say goodbye to Celina and Bayley and Oliver and Seth and all the other characters and their individual dilemmas and quirks and personalities. They have been such a big part of my life for the past few years, and I'm not quite ready to bid them farewell.
I'm sad too because once Portraits of Celina becomes a book, I can no longer tinker with it, no longer tweak or massage or improve it. I can't add that fantastic new element I just thought of in the shower, or that acerbic line of dialogue that just came to me. I can't change anything. It will be all done and dusted and handed over to the readers. And in many ways, it will no longer be my story. I will have lost control and be handing over the reins to those readers. It will be their story - the story their imaginations create from my words on the page.
But isn't this handing over to the readers what I have been aiming for throughout the writing of the book? Isn't it for the most part what has driven the writing? The answer, of course, is yes, and if I'm totally honest with myself, the handing over isn't really making me sad that I am losing control, it is just a teeny bit scary. I love my story and my characters, but what will my readers think?
Such a wide range of emotions. That amazing roller-coaster ride yet again.
And I know the best way to get over these feelings is to stop wallowing and to get cracking with the next book.
But that blank page is pretty scary too!
So, I am putting on my brave hat, and after I press post to this, I am going to open a new word document and write "The Awful Truth" and start writing. (At least one sentence anyway.) Wish me luck.