Love at First Draft--How to Keep the Spark Alive (Quote of the Day)
When I wrote the last page of my first novel, I cried. I mean, they weren't rolling-down-your-cheeks-and-landing-in-your-coffee tears, but there was definitely a shine in my eyes. There's an astounding sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a book. All of a sudden, there you are, with a couple hundred pages that you eked out all by yourself--maybe over the course of months; maybe in a few frenzied days or weeks. For some of us, our stories have been in the works for years and are just now coming to a close. It's an emotional experience, no matter how long it's taken. And when it's done? Well that calls for tears--shouts for joy--happy dances--running out the door and kissing random people in the streets! It's finished; it's finished; hooray!
But notice that Sparks says, "the last page of the first draft." Does he know what he's talking about or what? Once we go through hours of editing and revising and scrapping and rewriting, the excitement tends to wane. Your once-cherished story starts to lose its loveliness after you've stared at the same pages for hours, borrowing from the thesaurus and taking out/putting back the same bewildering comma over and over again. Before you know it, your relationship with your novel reminds you of your grandparents' marriage. You know what I'm talking about. The ones who've been together forever, which is amazing, but... They buy each other socks for Christmas and pick spinach out of each others' teeth.
Oh, and they keep squabbling about whether that silly comma belongs or not.
I wish we could hold onto that "last-page-first-novel" feeling all the time. Wouldn't that be great? Well... I think we can at least get it back. I propose that this week, you do something special with your novel; reignite that old spark.
No, I don't mean take it out for a fancy dinner and champagne; what I mean is, leave it alone. Seriously. Take a vacation from editing. Put your novel in a box or a dark corner for a week. Maybe even two weeks. Then, when you start to miss it, go back to the first chapter and read. Just read. Resist the red pen and pretend like this book isn't something you wrote. My bet? You'll find yourself falling in love all over again.
Today's Prompt: Write a comedic story about your grandparents, or another elderly couple--real or fictional--who've been together "forever."
Happy Writing! KC