You tell yourself it doesn’t matter. Yes, you spent years with these characters, telling their stories, breathing life into them, as a multi-layered story unfolded around them. Yes, you stayed up late when they wouldn’t get out of your head, when they wouldn’t let you sleep because what they wanted you to share about them needed to be put to paper. Yes, you jotted things down at the weirdest times, when inspiration struck. You cheered when they did something heroic; you cried when they experienced loss. But in the end, they were yours, all in the world you shaped for them.
And then you shared them. You took them out of the box they’d been in and you carefully unwrapped that box and let others peer inside. And you held your breath. They liked your characters as much as you did, perhaps, but some of the things they did weren’t consistent. Some of the things they said didn’t sound like them. Worse, some of the things they did … didn’t matter. But this is what happened when you opened that box, and so you let others help shape these characters, shape them from characters into people. People with goals, who loved one another, who hated one another, who argued or collaborated… who lived.
Now you had a group of friends who had helped you build a set of people to live in a world you shaped. Those friends liked the story and the people. They entered the trusted circle into which you held all this imagination. You took parts of what they shared and applied it, but other parts you didn’t want to change. There are certain things about your people that shouldn’t change.
Eventually, it was time to open the door, to let the whole world see your people, share your world.
And you held your breath.
You tell yourself it doesn’t matter. That getting here, publishing something that you’ve spent so much time on, that others have spent so much of their time helping you create, is the real reward. But then you see that you’ve sold copies of your creation to people beyond just friends and family. There are people you don’t know who are reading your book. And they’ll have opinions.
And you hold your breath.
The first review for Ahvarra came in last week. 4/5 stars on Amazon. A very good review. Someone who not only enjoyed the book but enjoyed it enough to request a sequel. Someone who wants to see more of the world on the other side of the Heart. Perhaps more importantly, someone who enjoyed the people I created: “There were a couple characters I liked more than others and I didn’t want to leave them…” So to erinthedreamer, I give my Heart-felt thanks. You are the first person who has reviewed the full book, and your enjoyment of it has made me very happy.
As I sat down to write this blog this evening, I received another review. 5/5 stars on Amazon. Another satisfied reader: “I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy or sci-fi stories, the author manages to combine all the individual characters and stories that span different worlds and time lines into a really great book.” Thank you, Chris! I’ve stopped holding my breath now!
I told myself that it didn’t matter how it was received. That getting here, after so much hard work, was mastering the real challenge. A dream realized. But getting here was only half the battle, because of readers like Erin and Chris.
Motivation? Hell yes.
And the first draft of the second book hums softly in the background. A new writing group is meeting, and their challenge will be to help me shape more of this world beyond the Heart. Stay tuned, readers… fans.
I. Am. Writing.