Knowing When To Stop

Often, after all that intense work, it's hard to let a story be over. You've lived with your characters so long. You know them so well now—better than you do your closest friend, your dearest lover. Even if the story has a happy ending, if it's over, you've still lost them as your characters. Their decisions and actions are in the past, fixed, finished, not living and fluid as they were while you were imagining the story into words and scenes. They're not waking you up in the middle of the night with dialogue, or creating fresh new situations in your mind while you're driving to the grocery, the way they used to.

It's as if they'd died. You're going to miss them, even through all the rereading and revising. It will never again be quite the way it was when you were writing the story and imagining it out of nothing.

You're suffering from the most virulent form of fiction fatigue: fictional withdrawal.

It takes various forms, all destructive.

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