Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Help! The most awkward blind date ever.

I met my new novel last week. It was... strange, to say the least. I mean, I'd just gotten out of a two-year relationship with my old novel, and you get into routines, you know?

I miss my routines.

Not that my new novel wasn't polite, and attractive, and full of promise. But I have to try so much harder to keep the conversation going, and there are those long pauses where I pick at my cuticle and want to crawl under a table to avoid the silence.


My old novel? Heck, half the time I didn't even shave my legs before a date. We spent so many hours together, I knew that novel backward and forward.

So why move on? We'd learned all we could from each other, and I got restless. There are only so many times you can tell the same stories and watch the same movies and hang out at the same places.

One day, I imagined life with the new novel, and I just had to know.

I'd forgotten how tough it was to stare at a blank page, cursor blinking. But I have to believe it'll be worth it, in the end.

I have a second date coming up this week. Any advice for my new novel relationship? It's been so long since I began one, I forget how to start!

(I'll trade you for revision advice.)

15 comments:

  1. There's nothing wrong with thinking about the old novel every once in a while, and the new voice that you'll create will definitely be strange and hard to get used to at first, but keep at it! Remember how exciting it is whenever you first get to know each other? The butterflies? The giddiness over, yes, actually shaving your legs? Let it buy you a few drinks first, maybe some chocolate, a lobster dinner... those characters will tell you their stories then! Good luck!

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  2. I just wrapped up a 2.5 hour date with my new novel. It was only supposed to last 1 hour, but I guess we hit it off.

    My advice: always shower first. We were off to a rough start, then I broke for a shower and started over. Much better after that. Also, refrain from checking email, etc. You don't want come across as rude or disinterested.

    : )

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  3. Oh, I love this post. Lol! one way to keep it going with the old novel is that it's a sequel (do again, but better)

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  4. Wisk your new novel away--somewhere off the beaten path like: a secluded field, the lake, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or a unknown coffee shop. Sometimes a little newness is all it takes to get the spark flaming.
    Winged Writer

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  5. Remember you and New Novel are just getting to know each other. Go out on a few riffs and see what happens.
    Find out what New Novel wants out of an author/novel relationship. Shush any preconceived notions and keep an open mind.

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  6. this is exactly where i am! my first (now 'old'--strange when it does not come out until feb) novel was so worn in and comfy and the new one is so strange and HUGE. it is fun but scary fun and not cosy fun.

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  7. KaT - Lobster dinner sounds delish! Excellent advice.

    Janine - Congrats!!!! So exciting, can't wait to read.

    LM - I was debating a companion novel, but for now I think I want to try something entirely new, so that when I do revisit the first novel, it'll be even more fun!

    Catherine - Changing my setting -- I like it!

    Lana - Yep, I'm letting myself get intimidated. You won't write anything if you don't write something!

    Priya - It's rollercoaster fun, that's for sure! Good luck with yours!

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  8. Very clever post, Donna. Somehow I knew it was yours before scrolling down to see who'd posted it.

    Go for a run, or at least a brisk walk, with your new novel. Lots of interesting things could happen. Who knows? By the time you get back, you may be holding hands.

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  9. I just started a new relationship, too! So awkward. Hopefully we'll get to know each other better after a few more dates.

    Love the comparison!

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  10. I love this post. I know exactly how you feel. I'm working on my second novel, and it's strange working on a first draft instead of revising endlessly. It's a nice change, though!

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  11. I'm struggling with this myself. I thought the second book in my series (a rough draft partially written) would be a whiz. LOL. Perhaps you should check out some of the posts in Adventures in Children's Publishing http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com/ about character development, plot, etc. and it might help jump start your story. Also Janice Hardy writes a lot about the craft of writing. http://storyflip.blogspot.com/

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  12. Something that always helps me coax my novel out of my shell during a date is writing it old-school style, with a marble notebook and a pen. It's just so much more intimate--not nearly as intimidating as that terrible blinking cursor.

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  13. Joanne - Brisk walk is more my style! hehe

    Janet - Good luck!

    Beverley - Glad I'm not alone! Novel #2 is definitely fun, though!

    Natalie - Great links! I'm already a huge fan of Janice's blog, but I just began following Adventures, thanks to your recommendation.

    Sara - I've found that too. I think I'll try it!

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  14. Yeah, send the old one on holiday. S/he might come to visit again one day and you can start over or decide to part for ever.

    As for the new one. I'd ask myself early on in the relationship - What is it about it that gets me excited? Does it have the potential to stay fresh long enough to come to a really satisfying place?

    My experience is that without that juice, you can waste a lot of time, but any idea is better than none and what the hell, it's all good experience. If we keep waiting for the right date, we might wait for ever.

    You might like to check out the results of my long relationship on the 'Lethal Imheritance' page at

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  15. Not sure how I ended up here, but glad I did. This was fun. Been there, done that. For years bounced back and forth between three of them, and now half way through a fourth, and stuck at half way, as I keep going back to the others because they were so familiar, but needed a facelift or two. One has 22 facelifts, another 14, another 15. I have to admit they're looking better and better, but I need to get out of those relationships fast (each one is getting jealous of the other), get them published and married off, and get back to number four before it walks out of my life for good. Since I live in Borneo, it's going to be a long walk back to the states and I'll be stuck on this island with a bunch of ex-headhunters.

    Congrats on your successes!

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