My Book is Not a Fling

Writing a book is much like being in a relationship.  When you first start out, everything is exciting and new.  You don’t really know everything about the book, and each little new thing seems fresh and interesting.  You’re filled with excitement and want to spend as much time with the book as you can.  You know “perfect” doesn’t exist, but you can’t help thinking how close this is.

As time goes on, and you get to know your book better, you start to notice tiny faults.  Flaws you, realistically, knew must be present, but you never noticed before.  Little things.  This character isn’t turning out quite like you expected.  That plot-line, which was intriguingly vague in the beginning, now just seems weak.  The wording is too flowery here and not descriptive enough there.   Everywhere you look, you see the words “that”, “slightly” and “vague” and THAT is SLIGHTLY giving you a VAGUE feeling of antagonism.  This is when things get a little tougher.  What should you do?  Sometimes you work on the book anyway, but you’re frustrated, irritable, and you spend most of the time at odds with your storyline.  Other times, you give your book the silent treatment, studiously avoiding that particular file or even the whole computer.  Should you just give up?  Throw the towel in?  Chalk it up to experience, tell yourself it wasn’t really anyone’s fault; you just lost the chemistry.  There are plenty of stories in the ether; maybe this just wasn’t meant to be.

But then, there are still those really good times.  Times when your fingers fly across the keys and scenes burst to life.  Dialogue flows, characters are engaging and believable, you solve that dangling plot-line problem, and you feel like you did when it all first started.  Are you really ready to give all that up?  All writers and books go through their tough times (just wait ‘til you get to revising).  Is it really worth all your time and effort, all you’ve been through together?

And so, you must make a choice.  Like relationships, writing a book takes commitment and dedication.  You have to put in time, effort, give it attention, if you want it to work.  You must make sacrifices and compromises.  And like any relationship, you must realize there will be good times and bad times.   Everything isn’t always going to be perfect prose and scintillating scenes.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.  And if you keep at it, you’ll find, despite the negatives, your appreciation for your book is much deeper and more real.  Once you know your characters – the good and the bad – and are invested in their lives, their story, you won’t want to give them up, even when the going gets tough.

I have been in a relationship with my book for six years now.  I’m in it for the long haul.  Recently I’ve been flying high, my revision is going great.  It’s easy to see why I fell in love with this book in the first place and I’m sure everyone will one day understand just how wonderful and special it is.

Then, today, we had a bad day.  I mean, it was an eat Hershey’s kisses, drink black coffee and watch reruns on Netflix to avoid the book at all costs day.  I don’t really know what happened.  All of a sudden I was rereading parts and thinking “This sucks!” through it all.  Too much backstory, info dump, no one would like it, why couldn’t it just be exciting, did we REALLY have to go through all this again?  On the verge of starting an impromptu hack-job on my first chapter, instead of revising in the 61-93 page range where I am supposed to be, I had to take a little “me-time”.  But that’s okay.  Because I know, no matter how discouraged, frustrated, angry or intimidated I get, I’m not going to give up.  I’m committed.  I love this book.  I love my story and my characters.  And even if no one ever sees its charms, even if no one ever understands, it doesn’t matter.  I’m in this relationship for good.

~ S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on August 12, 2013.

6 Responses to “My Book is Not a Fling”

  1. Your blog posting was to me an adventure, it is the writers battle of good to overcome evil.

  2. Good for you, it will be worth it all

  3. It’s so true. I think we’ve all been there at some point (at least once), but I’m glad that you’re willing to stick through with the book for the long haul. : )

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