How sad is ‘The End’ ? Missing your characters.

 

The End of the book

image from ‘The Guardian’

Some people feel sad when they finish reading a book or a series. There’s a new hole in their lives, they say, when the last page is turned and the characters they’ve come to know and support fade away.

Here on Reddit, there’s a discussion about how finishing a book causes sadness.

Bailey laments the coming to the end of a series in 2013 in her BookBlogging blog.

In Yahoo answers the discussion mentions sadness at finishing a book because the reader has become so attached to the characters.

On GoodReads, too, there are readers who explain how they feel sad when they’ve finished reading a book they’ve really enjoyed.

So how do writers feel when they’ve finished?

If you can feel sad when you’ve finished reading a book, how much sadder are you going to feel when you’ve finished writing one?

The writers at Jungle Red discuss it here. Most writers feel something of a kind of emptiness but deal with it in different ways. Some jump straight back into the next novel. Others enjoy taking a break.

Flaubert said this –

I love my work with a love that is frenzied and perverted, as an ascetic loves the hair shirt that scratches his belly. Sometimes, when I am empty, when words don’t come, when I find I haven’t written a single sentence after scribbling whole pages, I collapse on my couch and lie there dazed, bogged in a swamp of despair, hating myself and blaming myself for this demented pride which makes me pant after a chimera. A quarter of an hour later everything changes; my heart is pounding with joy. Last Wednesday I had to get up and fetch my handkerchief; tears were streaming down my face. I had been moved by my own writing; the emotion I had conceived, the phrase that rendered it, and satisfaction of having found the phrase–all were causing me to experience the most exquisite pleasure.”
-Flaubert

He must have been depressed beyond imagination when he actually finished.

I admit I’ve made myself cry

when I’ve killed off characters. I’ve got myself all riled up during arguments between my fictitious people and found it difficult not to take sides. I’ve felt for myself the heartwarming/heartbreaking bits, but the act of finishing, actually coming to ‘The End’ has been a very strange feeling indeed.

When I finish a short story, I can’t wait to submit it and see if a magazine is going to take it up. I don’t grieve for the fact that story is finished. I’m not so invested in the characters. I’d be wrung out like a rag if I became so deeply involved as with the characters in a full length novel.

So, now I’m missing the characters in Patterns of Our Lives. They’ve been a part of my life for so long. The best I can do for them now is market the book and find ways to promote my work and persuade people to read it so they can come to love Sandra and Jean, Polish George and Ronnie Logan and all the others. Like grown up children, they have to go out into the world.

I’ll leave the final words to the Bard:-

Juliet:
‘Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wan-ton’s bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

Romeo:
I would I were thy bird.

Juliet:
Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow. [Exit above]

Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 176–185

The End

farewell my friends . . .

2 thoughts on “How sad is ‘The End’ ? Missing your characters.”

    1. Hello Siobhan,
      thank you for your comment. I’ve got 3 WIP, but I’m still having to fit in daily physiotherapy. Sometimes I’m just too tired or in too much pain to write. I’m looking forward to being able to sort my head out and get on with my ideas. One in particular is hammering on the door and threatening to leapfrog older plans. Here’s hoping . . .
      Cheers!
      Celia

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