The writer’s group that I belong to discussed a chapter from my current work last night, and I was reminded of the adage: “Once you tell your story, it no longer belongs to you.”
It is fascinating to hear my characters viewed through the eyes of others. The view is not always favorable, of course, since this group is a microcosm of the reading world, but it is helpful to know the misses as well as the hits.
I must weigh these diverse views. Is Jalal is too perfect or is Jalal too uptight? Is Meredith strong and sure of herself or has she lost her identity? My characters cannot be all things to all people. I have no control over what baggage my reader brings with them into my story, making the same scene “completely real” to one and “over the top” to another.
Writing is like birthing and raising a child. There comes a point when you have to release your child out into the world. You hope that all you have taught them has taken hold, and they will be all right in the big bad world. Though you know the people they meet will not love and protect them the way you do, you pray that most will treat them well, and you dream they will find someone who cares for them as much as you do.
I can only hope that once I tell this story, someone will make it their own. A million someones would be nice.