Call me Frankenstein.

On Wednesday, I saw Emily (my protagonist) for the first time. For the last four years, she’s been this vision in my head–this strange, beautiful character–and now, thanks to an incredibly talented artist, she’s alive. I can look at her whenever I like (and often do) and I don’t know if it’s because she’s mine, but I am so completely enthralled by her. I imagine this is how parents look at their children when they’re first born, with this incredible wonder and pride and recognition. Of course, parents get their wonder and pride and then promptly have to start changing diapers and waking up in the middle of the night to feed their creation, whereas mine requires no diapers, no midnight feedings, though, in the spirt of honesty, she has required more than a yearlong investment of time to bring to life. But I’m in such awe of her that I become this silly, gushing sap every time I look at her.

I find myself wondering if other writers feel the same way about their characters. If Lucy Maud Montgomery was itching for her first glimpse of Anne with an e, and how she felt when she first saw her free-spirited, red-haired creation. Of course, I also recognize that most authors are at the mercy of their publishers, so I imagine there have been at least a few disappointments in this regard. I can’t imagine, for example, investing so much time, energy, and love in creating a character only to discover that my publisher intended to use one of those generic covers you often find in the young adult fiction section. Or working with an artist who didn’t have a strong grasp of the character. I’m incredibly lucky in that I’ve worked with a lot of talented artists, between New Times and San Louie, and most of them are happy to step outside their studio and play for awhile, metaphorically speaking.

In any case, I don’t feel that I’ve done a very good job capturing my wonder and pride and immense gratitude, but perhaps I’ll have discovered the necessary words to do so by the time I can share my images of Emily. Or, given the adage about pictures and words, I won’t have to. I will, of course, post image when the time is right. (Which will be soon, though not as soon as I’d like.)


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