Jess sat in the slow-burning sunshine and listened to them
with a smile on her face. She was home.
I don't know what novels are to other people; I can only speculate. For me, they they are bigger, stronger, wilder than what they appear. They are not just lines on a page; they are journeys - alive and breathing - trapped between covers, waiting to be turned loose. They have the power to evoke laughter, tears, longing and heartbreak. Their paths become familiar and well-worn. Their people become friends. Their colors are brighter behind our eyes than ever possible in the real world. And all that a novel is to a reader, it is still more to its writer. We crack open our own fears, dreams, worries and wonders and weave them into the fiction. We slave and worry and spend sleepless nights wondering just how our hero will find his way out of this newest scrape. It is a lonely thing, sometimes a thankless thing, and even still, when it's over, we are sad.
I finished Fix You today. It still needs editing and proofing and all kinds of tweaking, but I wrote my final line today. I ended not just the novel, but my four volume series of novels. And it's...strange. I've thought all along that I would be elated to complete the series, and instead, it's a quiet sort of gladness. What do I do now that it's done? What comes after?
In the last six months, I've written more than I ever have in the past. It's been a concentrated, focused obsession - writing out the lives of these characters. Now that it's over, I'm left with all those artless, practical questions I hate: Should I have focused my efforts elsewhere? Should I have written a different kind of book? A different kind of series? Was this all a waste of time? Will I look back and be glad I got to meet the Walkers in my imagination?
I don't know the answers to these questions right now. I think, for tonight, I'll just be glad and sad that I am where I am. I don't know what's harder: writing, or what comes after.