I have spent today reacquainting myself with the story in my second book, tentatively called Wandering Ways. It is the tale of a young woman brought up as the oldest child in her neighborhood, in a hidden valley where knowledge of her true personhood was unknown to all except her foster mother and a group of older women called, appropriately enough, the old ladies. She finds a strange wanderlust takes her and, as she tries to escape the valley in secret, she is joined by one of the old ladies who turns out to be a middle aged witch in disguise. She learns she is important in the district where she lives, and she goes on to discover a destiny totally unexpected for a girl from the hidden valley.
In rereading what I wrote a month ago, before the editing of my first book took over my life, I was surprised to find that the story runs smoothly if a little excitedly through about a week or ten days in my heroine’s new life. The only question I have is whether I can pick up the story where I left off, or if I have to immerse myself in right brain gymnastics to get the characters to come back out of their state of snit, caused when I deserted them for the first book.
This is, I find, the first major hurdle I have had to cross in my short career as a writer. I have taken pride in my role as a pantser, one who lets her characters tell the story with minimal input from me. It is, I claim, a direct line from the right side of my brain to my fingers on the keyboard with no waystation on the left side of the brain. The test is whether when I call up my document in about five minutes, will my fingers do their normally stellar work in producing a story I do not know? Or will I have to play nice to the characters for a few days before the words flow smoothly again?
The problem is that I will in all likelihood desert them again late on October 7. That is when I have the last workshop on the first novel. Assuming, reasonably, that I will have work to do on that book to get it in shape to send to my editor on the 15th, I will again put this story aside for a period of a week or slightly more. Much as I try to explain to the characters that I will return to them on the 15th, once the first has been transmitted, I fear they are leery of me. Does anyone have an established and tested way to get characters to return to the fold after such a disruption? I would love your input!