Guest Post by Nancy Scrofano
Letting Characters Go
I love characters from my favorite TV shows, movies, and books, so I definitely fell in love with my own characters from my debut novel, True Love Way. I spent over two years with these characters, thinking about them, writing dialogue for them, and developing them. It was much more time than I had ever invested in characters from other works because there was one key difference. The characters in my novel are mine. It seemed like I would never be apart from them, since the writing and editing process was long and arduous. But when the day finally came to turn in my final version of my manuscript, I thought I was ready. I wanted to finally be through with two year’s work. I wanted to share these characters and their story with readers. However, I soon found myself thinking, so, that’s it? They’re gone? I didn’t have to create scenes for them anymore or come up with their lines or their personality traits. And to be honest, I was sad. I was also relieved, happy, excited, nervous, and the list goes on. It was a mix of emotions. I adore these characters, especially since they are in my first novel. They are the first group of characters that I brought to life in a full, complete published work.
The best way to move on from one book is to jump right into the next one, right? Wrong. For me, anyway. I tried to get started on my next book immediately after I turned in my final draft of True Love Way. I even wrote thirty five thousand words of a young adult novel while I was in the midst of trying to get True Love Way published. But something just wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t connecting with the new characters because I was still too focused on the characters from True Love Way. I hadn’t actually let them go, even though I was sure I had. It was just too soon. And I think part of me didn’t want to let them go. I wondered if I would find the right mix of characters ever again. I was letting doubt take over. But eventually, in time, I was ready to create again. I cleared my head and to my surprise, when I wasn’t searching for new characters or forcing them, they found me. I’m getting to know a new group and loving them. It’s an exciting journey again, and I can’t wait to see where these new characters go and where the story takes them. I realized that sending characters on their way so they can entertain readers is actually a wonderful part of the publishing process. Hopefully, readers will love them like I do. And who knows? Maybe I’ll revisit the True Love Way characters someday to write a sequel.
Nancy Scrofano is the author of True Love Way and writes book reviews for a prestigious book review magazine. Additionally, she is the founder and managing editor of The Chick Lit Bee, a book blog that promotes and celebrates women’s fiction. Nancy is at work on her next novel. For more information, please visit http://www.nancyscrofano.com.