Thursday, July 1, 2010

PMS: Post Manuscript Sorrow

You know that feeling you get when you're absolutely loving a book and you pass the halfway point? You slow down a little, re-read great sentences, prolong the experience of reading really amazing words. And then when there's only one or two pages left, you begin to mourn the loss of the book, even before it's over. What will you read next? How will you ever love characters as much? How will another author ever top this book?

That's how I feel when we start a new project.

Lisa can spout off ideas like it's her job, and as the official idea whore, I guess it kind of is. She can form an entire plot in seconds with characters to boot. I sit back unconvinced, still bitter at having typed "The End" on whatever manuscript we've just wrapped up. We go back and forth like this, Lisa spouting, me poking until we're a combination of exhausted, annoyed, excited and confused and there's nothing left to do but write.

So we do. Well, actually, Lisa does. She always writes the first chapter. Always. And then it appears in my inbox and I download the document 1/4 curious, 3/4 skeptical. But as I read her words, her first-take at the start of a shiny new project, I'm hooked. And before I know it I'm editing and rearranging and typing Chapter 2.

And so it starts. The beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Tell me I'm not insane. Does anyone else grieve endings and beginnings like I do?

39 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

Endings sure, beginnings not so much.

Piedmont Writer said...

I still cry when I read the ending to my own book. I love it that much. But I also have several others to take its place so I'm over it pretty quick.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I'm really curious ... surely you both have unique voices, so how do you merge them to make your book sound like ir was written by one person?

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

I completely understand! Every time I approach the end of a book, it takes me about 5 times as long to read the last several pages because I know it's ending. You don't want the experience to be over when you've had a fantastic read. When starting a new book, I have the same, only in reverse. I hesitate, shy, and unsure about these new characters and settings. Before long, it's comfortable and you're off. Books are awesome that way :)

Marissa

Megan said...

Completely agree.

I always find it hard to launch into a new novel/story but when you get involved, its like, how did you ever live without it!

And there's always the sad feeling when you finish something and don't want to let the characters go.

I find it really interesting on how you two work together to write - in my creative course we tried it as a class exercise and ugh, I hated it!

Can't wait to read LIAR SOCIETY :D

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Jill Wheeler said...

Once I told a kid I had PPS (pre-production stress, right before the fall play). He just slowly backed away.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Laura, I am usually crushed by the completion of a manuscript. I feel as if I am losing my best friends.

Beginnings, however, are exciting. There's so much promise ahead! So many people to get to know!

About a 1/3 of the way through, I will usually have an attack of nerves as I suddenly become convinced that this new relationship ... er, story ... is not working out. But if I stick with it, pretty soon I'll be, as you said, bitterly typing The End.

storyqueen said...

YES!

Endings are so hard....but then, you know that you'll probably have to revise eternally for agent and or editor....so you are NEVER really done...(Not that anything like this has happened to me or anything....)

But typing the last words on a first draft is so bittersweet. Like a friend who moves away. Yeah, sure, you'll still be in touch. But it's not the same.

Shelley

B.E. Sanderson said...

I hear you. When I finish a manuscript, I get totally bummed about losing the ability to spent more time with those characters. I was dragging my feet finishing this last WIP for just this reason. On the other hand, I don't dwell on it for too long. Soon I get excited about the next story in my head and off I go again. =o)

salarsenッ said...

I'm probably in the minority, but the beginnings are what really grieve me. I do, though, definitely feel a let down when a manuscript is completed. Once I get an idea in my head, I'm almost like a spastic kid crazed for more candy. But once I get past the initial introductions between my main players, I crash from major sugar-deprivation. I eventually peal myself off my desk, but I think I dislike that feeling more than the let down at the end.

Tere Kirkland said...

I love endings. It's when I have to trunk a manuscript that I cry a little.

I love beginnings the best, though. So much potential.

Melissa Sarno said...

It took me almost 2 months to begin a new novel after finishing the last one (spending more time on the agent search and summer fun instead.) But I was hesitant to begin something new, it almost feels like a betrayal. Since I've started a new one, it still feels strange, this new voice, new characters. I'm excited about them but not comfortable with them yet.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I start to slow down towards the end of a project as well, for the same reasons. But the fun part is getting to wade in the world again and again as I edit and revise. I guess I'm an idea whore like your sis. Thanks for sharing how you girls opperate- it must be amazing to have someone to share the process with- someone who'll never get sick of talking 'project' with you.

Larissa said...

*sigh* If only I had a Lisa to write beginnings for me...LOL.

I do grieve the end of a ms. Especially the first draft, because I'll never have that shiny new, letting-the-words-pour-out-of-me-omg-did-he-really-just-do-that feeling with that story again.

paulgreci said...

For me, typing The End is mostly satisfaction with a healthy dose saddness sprinkled on top. And that's been true whether the novel ends up on submission or under the bed:-)

Veronica Roth said...

After finishing my first (trunked) novel, I went through this week-long period in which I stayed mostly in my pajamas, eating tostitos and watching reruns, because I just didn't know what to do with myself. I listened to the book's playlist and got all sad. It was seriously like I had just broken up with someone.

Then I started something else and got over it, but yeah, I get some serious PMS. ;-)

PJ Hoover said...

I love when that utter love of a ms hits me. Sometimes it's before I write a word and others it's after a first read through. But it's perfect!

Claire Dawn said...

Endings I think: Damn, I'm going to miss them.

Beginnings are like: This is the best book ever!

til Chapter 4: Lord help me, what was I thinking. Lightning strike me now. Make it swift!

Dara said...

I'm not sure I grieve the endings as much as I'm thankful to see it done :) I think it's a little bittersweet though.

Jemi Fraser said...

I have a hard time letting go as well. It's tough when you've come to love your characters and you're so used to spending so much time with them. It's hard to move on!

Marsha Sigman said...

I think beginnings are hard for me because it feels like the real ending of the last manuscript. Moving on...exciting and sad at the same time.

K. M. Walton said...

Yeah, I hear you on endings. I also have a hard time with lasts. Like, the last time either of my sons took a bottle or the last time I gave them a bath...I wish I paid attention and cherished it a bit more. But I guess we never know when the "last" is upon us.

gabrywrites said...

I'm the same way with that, only with endings. Sometimes in beginnings. It's hard to let go, that's for sure.

gabrywrites said...

I'm the same way with that, only with endings. Sometimes in beginnings. It's hard to let go, that's for sure.

Krispy said...

My slow reading slows down even more whenever I get near the end of a book because I sort of don't want it to end! So I totally understand. You're not insane.

It's kind of harder with writing to finish and then move on. You've grown so used to a certain set of characters and a certain world that it's kind of daunting to think of someplace different with different people that you'll have to start all over with.

Jill Kemerer said...

I'm always excited to start the next project. Probably because revising takes so much out of me. I love all of my books, but I'm always ready to write the next one!

Riv Re said...

I've read books like that. Graceling was one of the best books in the world, and I read the last three pages at a snail's pace (if a snail could read.) Incredible book.

Elana Johnson said...

I hate writing the beginning of anything. I just can't get into it. This is why I don't write in order. I write whatever scene inspired the book first, and then I go back and try to nail the beginning. I'm still not sure I've ever done that, but I'm going to pretend like I have.

Carolyn V. said...

I do. I hate getting over a good book. And I love a great first chapter!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Well, as for beginnings I have about 5 started novels on my hard drive. But as to the end, YES, I grieve. I continue to live in my head if I really love it. Hey we can dream of sequels right?

Annette Lyon said...

I loathe beginnings. I always have to rewrite them a dozen times. Ick.

Endings? Those are the reward for pushing through. Love those--but I miss my characters. There's that to grieve.

Myrna Foster said...

I know what you mean, but we write the story so we have it to read again, to make it something concrete.

Melody said...

Oh yes, I grieve endings.
I grieve endings so much that it took me years to actually finish a MS.
Now, starting books I love. (Another reason it took me years.)
I've gotten over the worst of it, but yeah, it's still hard. :/

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yay, it's not just me!

Okay, it's not so much the endings, because there're still edits to go. But once I'm ready to query, I am sad because now I have to move on and say goodbye to those characters. :(

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Claire, I'm with you! I am so excited at the beginning, but then later on I start thinking that the whole idea was dumb and nobody will ever want to read it.

Right around word count of ... oh, say ... 18,190 ... just to pick a random number.

Give me a few days of chewing on it though, and hopefully I'll get over it -- and so will you!

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