You might say that I’m a rather shy person. I’m an author and a harpist. It doesn’t get much quieter than me. I have trouble meeting people. A year ago, I moved to a new house in a new town. I’m just now getting brave enough to talk to the neighbors and accept invites. It’s a similar experience with characters in one of my stories.
Plot lines often come and go in my head. When I say often, I mean that I will sometimes have up to eighteen or twenty ideas in a day for some new story. I mull them around and only write down maybe three a week that I think have true potential. But characters come from somewhere else. I may base them off of people I meet or people I know, but they usually come knocking in my sleep. They tap on the glass, open their doors to invite me in or merely walk by in my dreams. I watch, I talk, I have tea with them. It takes me a long time to get to know them before I think I am able to write their story.
As I come to writing the end of my second novel, I think saying farewell to characters is nearly as difficult as moving away and saying goodbye to people in reality. Characters in my books have become my friends. I have likely spent more time with my literary leading hero than I have with my real life boyfriend in any given week. I know them more fully than I do my closest friends. Characters share their deepest sorrows; their darkest fears with me. We’ve been through thick and thin together. Why? Well, because they have to. It’s the nature of the beast you might say.
This process of saying goodbye to characters is not just a moving on either. Due to the fact that I write horror and science fiction, not only am I leaving my characters behind, I’m often killing them off. In order for a gory horror story to come to a climax, someone has to become the victim. It’s not the easiest job in the world killing off characters. While imaginary, they have spent so much time residing in my imagination; for the last few weeks, months or perhaps years. In the real world, it darkens my mood, brings me down. I have to write a bit, then go for a walk, write a little more of the ending and then go eat chocolate to cheer myself up, write a little more, go out and run errands. Losing even one’s imaginary friends is bittersweet.
It is with fond a due that I finish to say goodbye this week to Dr. Lewis, Melody, Dean Harwell, Kanji, the mysterious Red Headed Woman and the sleepy little town of Hillford and its haunted, cursed Conservatory. The final chapter is upon me. I will miss you all; although much like real life; I will miss some of you more than others. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross again in another life….well at least from your perspective it will be another life; another time, another town…..Until then, I suggest to my readers that they sleep with the lights on. Listen for monsters. Tap on the walls. Listen for little creatures who crave your blood. Beware of ghosts who call out for their missing, musically gifted hands and never, never trust a stage mother with enough wealth to buy whatever and whomever she wishes……