How writing a book is like a relationship

The pull. Sometimes love-at-first-sight, frequently simple superficial attraction to a single detail or aspect. The face, the laugh, the confidence. (The setting, the character, the hook.)

Conversation. Getting-to-know-you, over coffee or a drink, chit-chat in a public location. Testing the water, seeing if it’s worth diving in. (Brainstorming a story around the original detail/aspect.)

First date. An actual outing, time spent together, going someplace and doing something. Hoping to have fun. (Writing the first short section.)

Honeymoon period. First date went well. Can’t stop thinking about them. Try to find time to get together whenever possible. Not every outing is the best night of your life, but the bad ones are quickly forgotten. Can do no wrong. (First third.)

One-year mark. The novelty’s worn off. The flaws are starting to show, but the passion is still there. A few disagreements. Still having fun. Most of the time. (Middle third.)

Three-year mark. Passion has settled into quieter love. The flaws are real, the disagreements harder. But there’s so much between you, you work them out. Push through. (Finish first draft.)

Wedding. After so much time together, it’s hard to imagine life without each other. There are flaws, there are disagreements, but working through them is proof of your love. So is the commitment. (Start of revisions.)

Anniversaries. With each year that goes by, a reaffirmment of your love. There are times when you need some space, some time to yourself, but never for long because life’s just not the same without them. (Revision/editorial passes.)

Parting. (Perhaps this is where the analogy breaks down.) The emotional release. Letting go. Then they are gone and you move on, but you think back on them with fond memories, pulling out the photos, remembering the good times you had together, the bad times forgotten. (Publication or drawering.)

And, perhaps… the pull again.

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2 responses to “How writing a book is like a relationship

  1. Sometimes, though, it’s like you’re taking a break in your relationship (or perhaps you have a long distance relationship?) b/c there’s that break between finishing a draft and editing, and then you get back together and rediscover what you love about your novel and you get to revisit that honeymoon phase all over again (hopefully).

  2. And that’s what you were saying with Anniversaries, but the love I have after a good draft sometimes feels kinda like that obsessive infatuation of maybe we can really make this work.
    My poor novel. Maybe I’m just fickle.

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