I never, ever thought I’d find myself in this position.
I’ve heard other authors talk about it, commiserate over it…but I never really got it before. I sure as hell do now.
You see, I’m about 10k words out from finishing Soulbearer, which is the full-length novel iteration of a simple story I first wrote back in 2010. As such, it is the second longest-running story concept I have in my backlist, and it was the first story I ever put out through a publisher. That story was “Angels Would Fall.”
And I don’t want to finish it.
It’s not because I don’t know where the damn thing’s going; I do. It’s not because I don’t think the ending is going to kick nine different kinds of ass; it will. (Come on, this is me we’re talking about.) It’s not even because I’m afraid to put it out for public consumption; I’ve got enough reviews of the Angels series to feel really good about it, especially in its revamped format.
It’s because I don’t want to type “The End.”
Usually I’m eager, even wearily ready for that pivotal moment, when those two simple words signify “Acta Est Fabula,” or “The Tale Is Told.” I long for that moment of completion like the embrace of a lover, with every muscle in my neck, back, and arms screaming for a break and my eyes burning with fatigue. I grin maniacally as I put the last pieces into place and slap it into an email to my editor.
But not this time.
This time, I’m finding every possible excuse in the book NOT to finish it. I tell myself I’m not feeling like it (bursitis in my right shoulder makes this not entirely a lie), that I need to be absolutely certain I want to do this, that, and the other this particular way before I write it out, or that I deserve a rest from the keyboard and the worlds of fantasy I sometimes feel like I live in 24/7/365. While all this is true, at least to some degree, I also know at heart it’s not completely, entirely honest, either.
So, a digression: What’s the difference between truth and honesty? It seems to me that truth is the actuality of something as you see it. Honesty is hard-core, indisputable, real actuality. The truth is that yes, I have been burning my candle at more ends than a candle properly has for longer than many people could keep it up, and I’m starting to feel the strain. But honestly, it has more to do with my reluctance to say this story is finally, irrevocably over.
Does that mean there can never be a sequel? Is there no chance at all that I could revisit this world, maybe zero in more on some of the supporting cast and their loves and lives? Of course not. I’m just having a hard time seeing how that would work right now, and with everything else I have on my plate, it’s tough to see how I would create another story in that same universe that has the same emotional investment for me.
So, a question for my fellow writers: How do you deal with the end of something you’ve put so much into? Do you forge ahead and write “The End,” even though it puts a lump in your throat and your screen blurs because your eyes are a little misty? Or do you grasp onto any and every reason you can not to? Do you have any advice or suggestions on how to deal with this? I surely can’t be the only writer who feels this way, so I’d like to know how others see it.
Just for the record, this is not intended as whining or bitching. This is something new to me…and I’m not sure how to deal with it.
Until next time,