Sunday, February 21, 2010

Novel Dating: When do you say "I do"?

I'm dating a novel idea. At first we just flirted. I'd jot down notes, a character sketch, a conversation. But then I'd think of it for no reason. A scene would pop in my head right in the middle of chopping an onion or folding laundry.

It kept calling.

Now it's more than a flirtation. I've written a first chapter and started a second. It is at this point of dating that I get scared, filled with doubts. Are we meant for each other, this novel and I? Can we make it through the hard times? Can I pull it off, and is this novel idea worthy of all the late nights, early mornings, and the hard work it takes to make a relationship strong?

Truth be told, I've never gone all the way with a novel. I've gotten close. I've learned from each unfinished piece, and that's part of why I didn't close the deal with those past darlings. I outgrew them. Or we drifted apart. I typically would then retreat to writing that was less of a time committment - short poems, picture book texts, non-fiction articles - telling myself that the demands of work and kids meant I wasn't ready for a relationship.

I have less time than ever for a novel in my life...and yet my main character won't stop talking to me.

So I ask you, my writing community, how do you know if it's the one? How do you know when to say "I do"?


  1. Julie- you know my history with novels...My characters have never "talked" to me. I tend to forget about them, and they about me.
    From what I've heard, this desire your mc has to make sure you hear him is a good sign that you should keep talking, keep dating, keep honoring these visits.
    Exciting! Scary!

  2. As with anything in life, no time is ever the "right" time. I say, take the plunge and do what your heart desires!

  3. Thank you, Annie and Cheryl (and those who posted comments on FB). I think the fact that I couldn't sleep last night and had to post this at 1:30am is a testament that it really is like dating.

    To the chair I go!

  4. It's ALWAYS the right time. Better to have loved and lost! You'll never go all the way if you don't start somewhere... :)

  5. From a selfish perspective, I'd hate to see you two-time this blog with a demanding novel. On the other side of the coin, there'd be more fun reading for me. I'm the worst person to ask, but why not play the field, do it and everything else. Love, Keri (a.k.a. Sam)

  6. Ha ha! I'd never thought of it as two-timing, Keri. Truth be told, I'm always writing something behind my blog's back. Fiction feeds a different hunger for me. I always think I really should have three blogs, she-smoke, one just about writing, and one for Smokin' Pete's. Then I just say "gah!" and mix it all together here.

  7. Cheat on the blog, Julie! LOL. Which comes first, commitment or love? Hard to say. I tend to think that if you don't give an idea a chance, you'll lose the window of desire. But then the idea has to do its part - stick around, flesh itself out, keep bugging you until you get it on paper. Kind of like getting married!