Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Adios, Mi Querido...

I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done. ---Steven Wright

Boy, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear the comedian who penned that phrase sat beside me last weekend while I stared at the blank document on my computer screen. I’d bet he watched as I set the formatting to Page One, Chapter One for my new book which was to be a prequel to the story I just completed.

No, the title of my new book isn’t Page One, Chapter One. The page and chapter number were just as far as I’d gotten in the writing of it.

I was stuck. Those first words, that first scene for the new venture wouldn’t materialize. And I didn’t like that. Here I was, with this imagination which usually runs rampant, and I stared at an empty horizon. Nothing for miles. Blank.

I think my muse—or whatever you want to call it—still hung out with the characters of my recently finished book. My muse really loves those guys. I love those guys. Separation anxiety? Had I become too attached to them? Hey, don’t laugh. To a certain extent, I think that’s what it was.

Nicholas Sparks said, Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It's one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.

But Truman Capote said, Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.

For me, it was somewhere in between—giddy excitement, but a painful grip of the gut, saying goodbye to my heroes. Not only did I shoot my ‘children’, but dared to think about walking away from them to embrace other children. Who knew I would get so personally involved with the damn story?

Are you laughing at me again? What? You mean YOUR characters do NOT ride to work with you and discuss their plight with you? YOUR characters don’t dictate which CD to play in the car, jealously making sure your mind stays on them and their story? Mine do.

I think the whole purpose of doing a prequel was to keep these characters front and center, to hold them close by creating a new story around them. And I suppose, to do so, I just wanted to go on writing them forever. This way, they would never fade from my heart. I’d never really be abandoning them.

My character, Candelario, smiled smugly at me, sure he’d convinced me to stick around and make a new adventure for him. He even crooked a finger and winked, beckoning me back to his world, to dance to El Mexico de Rocio with him while I dreamed up more romance for him. He’d won. No new characters for me. You know you can’t resist me, mi linda senorita, he cooed.

But it happened. No sooner had I succumbed to his Latino charm—turning my back on the possibility of new heroes, new adventures—two new characters appeared on the scene. Out of the blue, stumbling into my brain, beautiful and strong, too potent to resist.

And who knew? They’re not even Latino.

So, my beloved Candelario, your spell has been broken. For now. I’m going to leave you for a bit and attend to these new guys.

But, Candy, you’ll always hold the distinction of being the hero in my first completed novel. And, yes, I’ll be back for a prequel. Hell, I may even do a sequel. IF you prove yourself and sell. You can’t get something for nothing, mi amigo, so you’ve got to prove you’re worthy of more of my time.

So, for now, Candelario: Adios, mi querido. De dejo pero regreso por ti. (Goodbye, my dear. I will leave you, but I will return for you).


Natalie Dae said...

Ok, I'll admit I'm one of the soppier sods on the planet, but your last words there made me cry! I know exactly how you feel.

Good luck on the new one!


C. Zampa said...

Hey, Nat!

You're just like me, my friend! And it IS a crying moment. That's the beauty of sequels and prequels, eh?

Thanks for visiting, lady!

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

Every couple of months I go through the ending of a novella and though my characters leave (or I leave them) we both know that it has to be this way. Like children going off to find a new life my characters too must "leave" by leaving me. I accept it but sometimes I call them back and reopen an old book, there they are smiling at me. All I can do is smile back, close the door and go on with my life by writing still another one. I'm very close to ending one novella while in a few weeks beginning still another. I'm not sad, I do what I chose to do, that is write!

C. Zampa said...

They are like children going off to find a new life, aren't they, Mick? And you're right. They're always there for us to visit, whenever we want.

So good to see you, my friend!

Sarah Ballance said...

You always post the best quotes! I hope Candelario is soon published, left to unleash his charm the whole world over, while you meddle in the lives of the new characters. But you're right - you never will forget your first. *wink*

C. Zampa said...

Hello, Sarah!
Oh, Candelario would like nothing better than to charm the world!
And to me, your Jack will always be special. No character can ever take that first fella's place.
Thanks for stopping by!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm so happy for you, Carol. Finishing the first draft is a very BIG thing. Congratulations! Celebrate! Because chances are you and Candy will be spending many many many days together. Don't you just love revising!

C. Zampa said...

Oh, Candelario would do well to hide from me right now!
I've edited him raw, and he's not happy with me. Wore him out with edits. LOL.
Someday our characters will thank us for editing and revising, won't they? It's for their own goods, after all. We only do it because we love them? LOL.

Good to see you, Joylene!

Debbie Gould said...

I do so love they way you write. And, frankly, I think Candy had to be put in his place, taken down a notch. You cannot let him get to you like that. As you told him, make him prove his worth. When he does, then you can go back and show him more love. LOL, men, you have to watch them yanno.

C. Zampa said...

Oh, Debbie, you just made my day, I smiled so big!
Yes,he DOES need to be put in his place, knocked down a notch or two or a hundred! LOL.

Yes, men. Constantly have to teach them!

Thanks, lady, for stopping by!

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh honey! I feel the same way on ending a book. It's not the book so much as the CHARACTERS. Definitely a bittersweet thing because, let's face it, we've lived with them, loved them and understood them as if they were our children. And they ARE. siiiigh. What can you do? Have a big family? That's it. Give birth to MORE of these children then let them FLY. Much as we do with our REAL little ones.

Sorry. I'm a sap too. Can't help it.

C. Zampa said...

Hey, Regina!
It IS the characters, isn't it? Those little meanies become our babies, like you say, and writing 'the end' on them IS a huge sentimental moment.
I like your idea! Just keep giving birth to more of them!
And what a wonderful sap you are!

Lex Valentine said...

Why do you think I write series? I CAN'T let them go! I LOVE them! Even when I do let them go...I keep creating more scenes in my head for them. As long as the new characters still come to you, you've got nothing to worry about, darlin!

C. Zampa said...

Oh, I SO see the beauty of a series, now that I finished Candy G!
And you're right. They do still stay with you, long after the last word is written. After all, you've brought them to life. How can they NOT keep on going?
Thanks for stopping by, Lex!