April 29, 2012

When "The One" is a One-Night-Stand

He's got "that" look, right? Of course he does. To borrow a line from Bill Dauterive, "He's about to make some lucky lady very happy. And then very, very sad."

Well this happened to me recently. Not with a man, but with my novel we'll call "Pete." As I stare at the blinking curser ominously mocking me where Chapter 2 should have started,  it's time to face the truth.

Pete's not going to call.

I wasn't even supposed to be seeing anyone right now. Coming off a month-long writing intensive, I needed to focus on me by editing and polishing my newest completed work and putting my first manuscript on a hard-core word count fitness program. But there he was, every time I'd turn my night-light off to try to sleep or be stuck in traffic or pumping gas. Write me, Pete would whisper in that distressingly suave Latin accent of his. And the first scene WAS enticing. I'd seen it in my head so many times and talked myself out of writing it because writing a novel is hard work. Most of you reading this know first-hand.

Pete was convinced I was just playing hard to get, so he brought his A-game. And at three a.m. one morning, I gave in. I trekked to my office in my pajamas, opened a new Word document, and started the new novel. For the next three hours, Pete and I picked out where we were going to live, how many kids we were going to have, what their names were going to be. It took the form of setting, genre, and characters, but the point is, Pete made me promises. I believed him that this story was good enough to deserve hours and hours of crunches and a fresh lip and eyebrow wax that would be the research involved to set this story. (Because it's not set in first-century Rome.) So I wrote the first scene, and it was amazing.

But that's all there is. It's been days now, and the next scene won't come. I have a general sense of the middle and end and what was SUPPOSED to happen. After all, didn't we talk about this when we were flirting with each other at the red lights and the gas pump? But Pete's gone. He got what he wanted and left, and as the jilted author, I could force myself into seat of the pants rehab and not check myself out until I walked, talked, and breathed like a plotter, but that's not me. And I have to be me. Because if I force this story, my frustration will show up in the work and in my real life.

I'm not going to let that happen. Perhaps one day Pete will come crawling back and swear things will be different this time. We'll see. But for now, our one scene, Chapter 1, is going in the shoebox under my bed and I'm a little older and a little wiser. At least with Pete, I found out after three thousand words instead of thirty. I now have the difficult task of crawling back to "Jason", the story idea that wasn't nearly as tantalizing but is probably going to prove a lot more reliable and worthy of the long-term commitment the author/novel relationship requires. While Jason and I might not have the chemistry Pete and I did, Jason will call me if he says he's going to call me. That's all I want in a novel concept. Reliability to go the distance.

(Next week we welcome Love Inspired Historical author Naomi Rawlings. We'll be giving away a copy of her new release, Sanctuary for a Lady. Naomi will be telling us about her novel, and how almost-kisses and guillotines can make for a great romance. ;-)


Melissa said...

I have a story idea for which I see the first scene so clearly, but I can't decide the setting, and plotting the rest will be a ton of work. Mine possible on-night-stand is on the back burner for now, but I haven't shoved it under the bed yet. :D Enjoyed this post!

Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks Melissa =)

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