Writing so intimately, just me and the characters and the words, felt very comfortable. My heart felt no shame in laying itself down on the pages. Now I have to let other people read it, and I'm experiencing the usual artist's embarrassment, often described as "feeling naked."
I gave my book to Lou, who began it last night and is just over halfway through. My beloved husband is hardly the target audience -- given the option, he'll always choose a Dostoyevsky gutwrencher over a romantic YA fantasy -- but if I'm going to feel naked, best to start with him.
He's getting the macro questions: Which characters seem important at this or that stage? Is the world believable? Has anything challenged your suspension of disbelief? Do the brief omniscient-voice segments I've inserted detract from the main character's point of view? So far, his answers are encouraging.
As soon as he finishes it, I'll work through any changes he suggests; then I plan to take it down to a copy shop and print copies for my mom and sister, my best friend, and the friends from my writers' group who have volunteered to read and comment.
From henceforward I begin relearning how to live without constant engrossment in this tale. Even with a nonfiction piece to work on, an editing project with friends, my other story still turning around in the back of my mind, this blog, and the Blogengamot (not to mention a husband and home to devote myself to), I'm not quite sure what to do with all the mental energy that will be freed up when I'm not existing almost entirely in my sweet protagonist's head. The thought of stepping away from her -- and from certain other characters, whom I love with all of her heart -- feels a little like loss.