The relationship I develop with each story I write seems to be almost the same as I would have with a lover. The first rush of “meeting” the characters and the thrill of getting to know them excites me, giving me the impetus to put their adventures down on paper. I think about the story all the time, wondering what’s going to happen next. No matter what else I’m doing the characters, like an absent lover, are constantly on my mind.
Sometimes the relationship seems to falter, and the lover is put aside with the hope that, perhaps when the stars are in proper alignment, the relationship can continue. Sometimes I know it won’t, and there is a sense of loss, of failure, but after the sadness wanes, I move on (faithless hussy!). There can also be a time when I hate the book or novella, usually during prolonged editing or at those moments when I have to fight though a blockage. But that dislike is similar to feeling a lover is being difficult but the relationship is still worth saving, so you persevere.
The worst time for me is when the story is finished, and I know it’s finished. That is, for me, a time of mourning. Even if it is rejected and needs to be re-written, or accepted and has to be re-edited, the moment when I feel I’ve finally captured what I wanted will never come again. I’ve come to recognise this and instead of trying to jolly myself out of it simply accept it, ride it out.
Eventually I hear the call either of a new love or an old one waiting for me to come back, and the excitement, the obsession, builds again. Ahhh, love!