I could give all sorts of whacky or insightful or cosmic answers to that having to do with a writer’s precognition of her character’s essence or the fleshing out of said character in prose, or the first words he or she utters.
I could be more pragmatic and talk about placing the last period and sitting back and sighing or doing the last edit pass and sending the manuscript that Michael and I have batted back and forth for months off to our editor at Del Rey.
I could talk about post-novel depression or what it feels like when the manuscript shows up on the doorstep in a big, fat envelope, all printed out and copy-edited. Or what it feels like when the typeset galleys arrive or when the book cover flats show up.
Is it real when the box of finished copies is delivered by the UPS guy and you get your George McFly/Back to the Future moment? Or when you see it for the first time on the bookshelf at Barnes & Noble or search for it on Amazon.com or Powell’s Online? Or when you receive the final installment of your advance?
When Michael and I were working on Patterns of Force, I thought it was real at every single one of those junctures. But today, while working on the novel tentatively entitled STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, I had another reality check moment.
I needed to reference Kaj Savaros—a character we’d created for Patterns—and started to search my hard drive for source files—the manuscript, the eNotebooks I keep, the outline. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I could look Kaj up online. I could go to Wookieepedia and—because I couldn’t remember how to spell his last name—type in “Kaj”.
I got two hits: Kajin Savaros (Oh, yeah, it was two ‘a’s, not an ‘e’) and Kajin Savaros’s mother. I clicked on the first link and found myself looking at, not just a blip, but an entire page of references to a character that I had a hand in creating.
There was even this cool little chart. Isn’t that keen? They even list his birth year—I didn’t even know that! Happy Birthday, Kaj!
And that was when I knew it was real. When I—and anyone else—could go to a source outside my head and machinery and reference materials to discover that Kajin Savaros was a human male Force adept, was born on M’haeli, had blond hair and gray eyes and had been the Padawan of two masters—one Dark and one Light.
That’s pretty real. Next I’m going to find out what Wookieepedia has to say about Kajin’s mother.
BUT—you may have noticed that this entry kicked off with a beautiful, new book cover for STAR WARS: SHADOW GAMES, which is scheduled for a Christmas season release—November 29. That’s right, space cadets, it will be released with a mere month of shopping days until Christmas. Let’s see, what could you get your Star Wars lovin’ family and friends for Christmas next year? Me wonders, me does…..
Is SHADOW GAMES real to me yet? Ask me when I’m looking stuff up on Wookieepedia for the sequel…