Saying goodbye to characters

I am neck-deep in drafting the final book in the Something Strange and Deadly series. In some ways, it’s going very well–the muse and are in sync, so the words are flowing with relative* ease.

But in other ways, this book is a real challenge for me–in a way that no other book I’ve written is–and that challenge is that this is goodbye.

There are some hard moments for Eleanor and the gang in this book. And there are some truly heart-soaring, happy ones too. But no matter what the characters face, it’s The End. Sure, their fictitious lives go on, but the reader doesn’t get to see that. And I–the writer–don’t get to write it.

But I won’t lie–I’ve planned it all out. I know exactly what Eleanor does after book 3 ends. I know what she does ten years down the road and beyond. If I didn’t know, I don’t think I could actually write this book…because, like I said, there are some hard moments for Eleanor in here. There are some things I do to her–and some things I take away–that hurt me as deeply as they hurt her.

Strange, isn’t it? How characters become an extension of ourselves? How, even the villains, take a little piece of our heart long after we write the last word in their story…

And I suppose that’s also why I have to plan the aftermath and the distant futures for each and every character. Otherwise, that tiny corner of my heart in which they live would just be…done. Over. Gone. I have to let the characters live on, even if their story is over. It’s simply too depressing to do otherwise.

Which makes me wonder if all the characters I write–have they always been living inside me? Was that spark that became their fictional soul always there, and it just happened to come out when the right story or the right moment appeared? Sometimes–especially lately, as I learn to navigate my muse’s fickle moods–I think the answer must be yes.

But ah, this post has unintentionally turned abstract and vague. The whole purpose of it was to originally say that I am writing and though the words flow, they do not come easy. I am sad to say goodbye.

Now you all tell me: What are you working on right now? And are the words ‘flowing’?

*By relative, I mean it’s still a trial of first drafting and finding the Right Scenes. There’ll still be MASSIVE revisions and rewriting before I ever turn this into my editor…but that’s just the nature of the beast, I’m afraid.