Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just When You Think You've Detached...

Now that THE TRAVELERS is querying (best of luck, my book baby!), I've been spending my time almost exclusively on ONE.

The day I hit "send" on a query, almost a month ago now, I checked my email about 20 times an hour. 
I'd read lots of advice about how, when your query letter and hopefully partials and fulls of your first book has been attached to emails and sent into the vast unknown of agents' inboxes, you should do one thing, and one thing only:

Start a new book.

I was reluctant, but I'd had this idea running around my head anyway, and within a few days, ONE was my new baby. THE TRAVELERS is out of my hands, at least for now. As deeply as I love it, I mean love love love it - the characters, the story, the relationships, all of it - I knew I had to put it away. I knew I had to detach, so that the waiting and the wondering of querying wouldn't wrap its fingers around my heart and squeeze it to death every time I heard an email ping.

I did it. I detached. Or so I thought.

But then? Then? My spit-polishing star of a critique partner, Chessie, emailed me this:



*Sigh.* There he is. 
Davis, the male MC from THE TRAVELERS. She did it. She went and drew him, read the manuscript and drew a picture of exactly what he looks like, and I just...just....WOW.

I opened the email, gasped, put my hand to my chest. I cried a little buckets.

I don't know exactly why. After all, Davis has been imprisoned in  my  hard drive for the past month, and waiting in some other folks' inboxes. But my new leading man is Elias. Elias, right? From ONE?

But I do know what it means. I love THE TRAVELERS just as much as ever. I suppose I always will love it. And I think when someone takes precious free time to draw a character from my book, it means she believes in it. Believes it's good, at least, worth reading and working on, and maybe even believes it'll go somewhere. 

So, fortunately or unfortunately, I'm not detached. I'm still so, so attached that a (beautifully, perfectly drawn) picture of one of my characters sends me into a heart-twisting spin of affection for it.

But maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.

Have you ever been able to detach from your work? Do you even want to?

24 comments:

  1. aw, I think I just got a little teary eyed :)

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  2. It's a good sign when you fall in love with your characters and don't want to leave the world you've created. I hope it means others will fall in love with them as well.

    Good luck on your submission.

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  3. I’ve been trying to detach myself from a project that I’ve been working on for months now. And it’s proving to be quite difficult.

    Working on something else, or catching up on some reading, seems to be the best answer.

    I wish you all the luck.

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  4. @Cristina - I know, right?!!

    @Isis - Thank you! That means a lot.

    @TraceyJ - I would SERIOUSLY encourage starting a new project. I would be running crazy circles right now if it wasn't for ONE. (Thanks. :))

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  5. Davis in anime... that is freaking fantastic. Chessie, please read my LBD and draw me a Michael!

    Which leads me to say that every time I think I'm over LBD, I'm not. I'll hear one of the songs that reminds me of it, and practically cry because I can't stand how no one wants to rep it. I try to wrap my brain around Kelsey, and wind up hearing Rebecca. Images of Jeremy and his rockin' bod just randomly creep into my mind. And I don't hate those moments... any of them, because I think your first novel is like your first baby. How can you not be uber proud and attached? I know I am. Which makes the rejections that much harder :(

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  6. I love that pic. :D I imagine it would be hard to stay detached when that awesomeness showed up in your inbox!

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  7. Nothing wrong with starting new projects. It's important to keep the creative gears of the mind well greased:)

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  8. Um....Chess....I think I started you a fan club over here....Gina and CherylAnne are drooling over your work. :)

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  9. :D Mah bad--If I'd known it was going to draw you right back into the Travelers, I would've drawn the Miles-doppelganger Elias instead! ^_^

    Bahahahah oh, but don't I love it when people drool over my work...

    And Gina, I'd be willing to draw Michael any day....given that a manuscript swap happens sometime soon... *shameless Nocturnian promotion*

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  10. I was just thinking about being attached to Nocturne and whether or not I should move on this week...I've been kind of obsessing on the idea actually. Nocturne went on submissions on the weekend after Write On Con and I haven't heard from anyone yet (besides that one agent who took less than twelve hours to shoot me a form rejection), but I've always wondered what I would do if everyone rejected it.

    Honestly, I consider myself a pretty decent "detacher." I've had three projects before Nocturne that I didn't even consider submitting and moved on. I always have new ideas to work on and limited time to write, so I'm always jumping from one project to the next.

    But Nocturne...there's something about Nocturne. It's the only project that I've found over 50 songs for its playlist and remind me so much of Gabe. I can't even listen to my ipod anymore without thinking of my novel.

    But I'm not totally against moving on. I have another project that has been marinating in my brain for the past few weeks, and I guess I'll just move onto it if Nocturne gets shot down by agents. Sure, I'll cry a little (by that I mean, A LOT, because I cry more than the average person)...but I'll move on.

    And I can totally relate with what you experienced with Chess drawing your character. All of my betas are incredibly talented artists so they always draw my characters out...and whenever they do...it's just...MAGICAL. Like the most wonderful feeling ever...yet kind of bittersweet because you haven't received that kind of positive feedback from the "professional world" (agents/publishers) and probably never will. (Depressing, I know.)


    Here's hoping that both of us can find some agent-love out there. If not well...we can move on. Somehow. ._.

    (Sorry for the really long comment by the way. This was a topic that I've been dwelling upon for a while now, even before Nocturne was on submissions.)

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  11. I'm not sure we ever become completely detached. It is more like moving on and falling in love with someone else. And suddenly realizing that you haven't thought about that first love in a long time. But all those fuzzy feeling are still there.

    I haven't opened my first novel in over five years. Sometimes I still think about those characters. I miss them. But in order to grow, I had to move on.

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  12. Aww :) I love how close you are to your work.

    I tried very hard to detach myself from my first project. I'd been editing and rewriting for a long, LONG time and still wasn't pleased, so I decided to put it away and work on other things.

    Just recently, I opened that novel for the first time in months and read a few chapters. And all the love I'd been denying for so long rushed back in at full force. Even though I've started and finished other projects since then, I still adore those characters and that story and would LOVE to start working on it again.

    Hope you get some good news from an agent soon! With all passion you have for your story, I'm sure you will :)

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  13. Oh, the query trenches. Good luck out there. And great pic!

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  14. @Francesca/@Gina - *Squeals*! Author artist match!

    @Lyla - It sounds like you feel that NOCTURNE is "the one." I think Chessie knows something about that. :)

    @Heidi - I think that sounds about right - I still have some really fond memories of...ahem...past loves - but glad *those* relationships dindn't work out iykwim.

    @Kristina - Thanks for your sweet wishes. :) Sounds like you're telling me I'm normal. :)

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  15. @Elana - Oh...ah...*mouth hangs open*...HELLO. Thank you for stopping by. I...um...OH, goodness.
    Your comments mean tons to me.

    (This is what we call "starstruck," people. I was a little...obsessed with Elana's summer debut, POSSESSION.)

    *hugs computer*

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  16. What a special thing to receive! I love the fan mail even before your novel is published. Shows that people are loving your work! That alone keeps me motivated!

    It's hard to let go! While I queried Celebrity Stalker I DID NOTHING ELSE. However with the first day querying for 30 Guys I've already begun a new novel and started outlining, after all I hear about the second book curse and I don't want that happening to me!

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  17. This is funny and touching--I'm in the same boat. Just started querying (very, very slowly), and I'm plotting my next book. But I find I have query dreams all night long (instead of, say, second book dreams). I keep trying to wrench my subconscious away and force it to PAY ATTENTION to the new book, so far with only modest success. : )

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  18. I think when it's easy to detach from your work, you're not writing the right story. :-)

    I've always thought writing was a little like having a multi-personality disorder. You create all these people in your head, you have conversations with them, you care what happens to them... and then the story is done and they still don't go away. :-)

    Oh and I wanted to let you know I gave you an award, go check it out in my latest post. :-)

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  19. @Gail - that's funny you mention the dreams - I've had A LOT of query dreams and WiP dreams. So I'd say I'm doing okay LOL.

    @Megan - OMG thank you thank you! Can't wait to see!

    Your comment was really encouraging. I feel more validated than ever abotu being obsessed with the WiP!

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  20. Hi Leigh Ann,

    I've started new projects, but sometimes it's hard to let go of your first love.

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  21. SO COOL. So very, very, very cool. I love the drawing! And so awesome of your friend to draw it!

    I always THINK I'm detached from my only-seconds-away-from-being-ready-to-query ms, but whenever I read it again, I fall in love again.

    And that's exactly the way it should be. :)

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  22. @CherylAnn - I know, right?

    @Peggy - That makes me feel a lot better. Published or not, it will always be my first novel, I guess. :)

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