I have a friend who’s struggling with yet another re-write of her YA. She’s sick of it. Ready to move on. She’s already consumed by the characters and world she’s created for the next project.
Writers have love-hate relationships with their books. At least I do. With every relationship between the project and I, this is our dance.
Project beginning. Flirtation. I take notes, outline potential plot points, make lists of characters. It begins to emerge. My heart soars. I think about It all the time and wonder if It thinks about me. Does It like the way my fingers dance across the keyboard? Does It think I’m funny? Will It say yes when I ask, please hang around in my head for awhile, just so we can get to know each other? Yes, It says, I dig you, too.
The first page. Romance. I like It, and It likes me. We have fun together. I don’t want It to leave when the day’s over. It’s fresh, full of promise, funny and charming. The words flow when I’m with It.
Bedtime. It says, back soon. Tomorrow? I ask. It winks. Maybe in the middle of the night. Leave your notebook on your bed stand because you never know what your dreams will tell you. Miss you, It says. Miss you, too.
First Draft. Reality. It turns cranky and full of complaints. It says, you don’t see my full potential. You’re sloppy and inconsistent. You made me TWO adverbs on the last page. Two! Don’t you care about me any more? I’ve felt this coming. It hasn’t been Itself. Of course I care, It. You just want so much. I have other things in my life. Maybe I could introduce you to some writer friends. It says, Nooooo! Can’t you wait until I’m ready? Why are you pushing me? I need time alone.
No, I say, don’t leave. Please, I need you. It says, Fine. But I need you to work harder at us. You’re always busy with other things: your almost-husband, your daughter, your housework, bill paying and cooking. You love your almost-husband more than me.
My heart’s not a box, I say, I have enough love to give to everyone.
We’ve come so far together, It and I. We have to make It work. I will change. I swear I will change.
Tomorrow’s post: Am I capable of real change? Will It leave me? Will I leave It? Will my almost-husband punch It and throw It out of the house?
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode.