I'm staring at a mountain of books.
But before I get to that, perhaps I should begin this story a bit further back. For several years, my best friend, Kate, and I have been talking about collaborating on a book. We tossed around multiple ideas (multiple and varied, ranging from "chick lit" to political thriller), but nothing seemed to stick. Then, just over a year ago, inspiration struck. We were inspired to write what turned out to be a young adult fantasy novel centered around a charismatic (maybe too charismatic? *hint hint*) Irish Traveler conman who falls in love with his mark (a rookie mistake, of course), and then has to choose between her and his family. The book was finished this summer (aside from a few edits in recent weeks that have made it even stronger, if I do say so myself), and we're now in the process of querying agents.
I'm in love with this book. I love every character, ever line of dialogue, every description. I love every awkward mannerism of our lovely characters, every nervous habit, ever moment of self-doubt or overconfidence. These characters have become very real members of my inner-circle. I feel as though my co-author and I haven't spent a year writing a novel, we've spent a year hanging out with people who were a little weird at first, but who have since become so familiar that lately they've just been coming by without calling, letting themselves in and snooping around the kitchen for a snack all before evening saying hello.
Which brings me back to book mountain.
I checked them out from the university library about a week ago, but have changed my concept for this new book so many times that they're not even going to be useful anymore. That means I now have to lug the all back to campus and walk them the quarter mile from my parking space (I have one of those--one of the perks of being a graduate assistant) to the library. That's not really the worst part, though. I've been putting off returning the books not because I don't feel like making the effort, but because I kind of feel like I'll be leaving something behind. I really liked the original idea, and the characters that had started developing along with it, but they just weren't getting me far enough to actually start writing about them. All the same, does that mean I should just drop them into the dark depths of the return box along with the books that are now just taking up precious space on my desk? It hardly seems fair.
On the other hand, just because I'm not writing about them now, doesn't mean I won't ever write about them. Maybe they can just stay safely tucked away in my little dropbox folder of potential ideas until I feel ready to write about them. I guess the first step to being a great writer is to realize that sometimes there are stories you're just not ready to tell no matter how excited you are to do so. The beauty is, since you invented the characters in the first place, they'll always be there when you're ready to get to know them a little better.
And, in the meantime, I have a whole group of new characters who are dying to see a little action, and I'm more than happy to oblige. After a trip to the library, of course.