Have you ever been working on a novel, and walked away from a productive day of work feeling sort of unsettled about it?
I’m not talking about the writing itself, really. Or the fact that it might be taking forever to complete. Or (insert your insecurity of choice here).
Things have been going really well with these edits. Some of the scenes are taking (a TON) more work than others. Some are way better than I initially thought they were. Either way, I’m making steady progress because I’ve been plowing my way through this draft with reckless abandon. (Okay, reckless abandon is a bit melodramatic, but whatevs. I’ve got to get the melodrama out somewhere, and it is NOT going into my draft.)
Yesterday was no exception, but despite good progress and satisfaction with the scenes I had worked on, I found myself feeling the slightest bit unsettled. Then, it occurred to me:
Duh. Your main guy and main girl are totally at odds with each other, and you (having the tendency to want to fix, fix, fix EVERYTHING) just want them to live peacefully ever after.
I hate to see people upset with each other in real life, so I guess it should come as no surprise that this carries over into my feelings about my characters.
This is probably a good problem to have. It means the novel has its fair share of conflict, and it means I am able to empathize with my characters. It also means I’m not giving in to the temptation to resolve tension too quickly. Hopefully, it means I’ll do justice to the emotions they’re experiencing so that future readers will empathize with them, too.
Do you ever feel unsettled after writing scenes that leave your characters dangling in the balance between life sucks and happily ever after, or is it just me? If you do feel this sort of empathy with your characters, I’m curious — what made you realize you’d come to care so much for them?