For those of you not on the up and up with the writing lingo, WIP is work in progress.
I don’t have children. However, I have been exposed to them enough, and been one myself, to know how much you can love and despise them at the same time. No, not despise. That’s not the right word… More or less find them super frustrating.
All of which can be applied to how a writer views their novel.
Just like a parent, we the writer create our novel and give birth to our characters. And, also like a parent, there is a little bit of the writer in their novel. How can there not be? And no matter what an author tells you, yes, a bit (even if it’s just a pinch) of their personality is in each character.
So, you have given birth to your novel. Isn’t that fantastic!? You tell people you’re writing a novel and they get that impressed look on their face. And really, at first everything is hunky-dory. Things are flowing and you are loving where things are going.
And then, your WIP starts getting you up in the middle of the night. You have to write when that amazing idea pops into your head, and really, if you go to sleep you’ll forget what it was. But it’s okay, because it’s really not THAT much sleep you’re missing.
And then, it’s not just that it’s keeping you up at night. Your WIP starts to develop a mind of it’s own. The character’s will want to do one thing and you (as the more experienced individual) know what is best. Every once and a while you let the characters do what they want, and sometimes it works out, but mostly it just turns into a train wreck. One where you are left picking up the pieces.
Then, you’ll want your characters to do one thing, and they just won’t do it. So you have to give up and move on and try something else. Because sometimes, you really don’t know what’s best.
The WIP enters the teenage years and really, I hope I don’t have to tell you what that’s like. Lots of slamming doors, fights, the words “you don’t understand” are thrown around a bunch, and you WISH that things would go better. So, you take a break. Not give up, because no parent (well, no good parent) will give us on a child. You and your WIP still have to be in the same room together, and slowly, you make progress.
And then it goes to college (now I’ve never had a WIP finished or published, but I think I know what it’ll be like…) You’ll miss it. You’ll think of all the good times you had together and you’ll think how you weren’t ready for it to leave the nest. There was still so much you had to do, so much you still could do. But no, by then it’s all grown up and out there in the world, making it’s own way.
You smile and miss it so much, you start another WIP.
And the cycle begins again…