I just finished my last Wild Crime manuscript and, wow, I wasn’t expecting to feel so sad. This is the third book in the series, after “Crime and Paradise” and “Crime Times Two.” I’ve lived with this story for several years – let’s call it five years – and have been eager to reach the end. I’ve wanted to finish the series, not because I’m tired of it, but because the story has been screaming at me to finish, finish, finish! Until the story is written down, it doesn’t really exist. So I’ve gone as fast as I can… and today, it exists.
There is still more work to be done on the manuscript before I submit it to my publisher. I have a checklist to consult, so I avoid my common errors, and then some basic editing. This is the point where I’m tempted to rush forward and move too fast. Instead, I need to be careful not to submit too early — the manuscript deserves my best effort.
But the story is done and, right now, that’s what counts. My story is complete and lives. Soon, I’ll have to let it go into the world.
If my story is alive, then why am I feeling sad? I’m moving on to other stories now. I have two other series I’ve outlined and they are demanding more and more of my attention. As I move forward, my Wild Crime characters will stay behind, frozen in time. It’s hard to believe I’m going to let them go, but with the end of this third book, Meredith Lowe’s story comes to a satisfying close. In my imagination, my Wild Crime characters will continue to age and grow, but in my imagination is where they’ll stay.
These next couple of months will be bittersweet as I fine tune the manuscript. These characters have been my constant companions each day for nearly five years, and now each keystroke is one step closer to saying a final goodbye. I wonder if all authors feel this way when they finish a series.