Sunday, December 27, 2009

Conversation with a Half-Finished Novel

Hi, novel? We need to talk.

See, the thing is...I mean, it's like this... Oh, crap. I'm just going to say it.

It's over.

No, no, it's not you. Not at all. You're wonderful. Amazing. You're deep and layered and evocative and...and... Well, you know, I admire you so much. And love you, sure. Of course. It's just...I'm not in love with you.

I have tried. You know I have. I was there for you, wasn't I? Every day for a year and a half--

Oh, here we go again. Complaining that I have a day job. How many times do I have to explain this to you? The laptop, the flash drive, you think they grow on trees? I worked for those. I gave you the best, I busted my butt for you. You can't deny that. I've worked so hard but it's just not...

No, don't cry. Come on. Please. I swear, it's not you. It's me. Really. I'm not good enough for you. You deserve someone better. Someone who can do you justice. You're so intricate, I already say layered?

What? No! How can you even think that? I mean sure, there have been blog posts, but they're nothing compared to you! I would never--

Okay, now you're just talking crazy. When would I even have had the time? Five days a week, who was I working on? You. What do you think, I had some other file open on some other computer? That in between typing on you, I'd sneak away and dash off two sentences with someone else and then sneak back? Do you hear how crazy that sounds?

Those were games of solitaire! Look, I swear to you, I never once cheated on you. What are you talking about, "other novel"? What other nov--

Oh. That.

OK, look, just calm down, all right? It's not what it looks like, I can explain. See, there was this...

Fine. You want the truth? OK, then. You're right. I am leaving you for another book.

No, it did not start back in Chapter 3! I didn't even know the other novel then!

See, this is what I'm saying. We've always had problems. Right from the start, fighting over every single word. I kept thinking it'd get better, that if I just hung in there we'd hit that groove, we'd start making beautiful music...

As if I need you to tell me that. You're not my first trip to the fair, you know. I know it gets hard. I know there are rough patches. Times we want to quit. But where was the magic? We didn't even get a honeymoon. That exaltation, the joy of beginning, when you feel you can scale mountains and cross deserts, like you can conquer the world... You don't even understand what I'm talking about, do you?

Why yes, if you want to know. The other novel does understand.

I didn't mean for this to happen. It's not like I went out looking for it. The other novel just popped into my head. And we started spending time together, and it just, I don't know. It made me feel so alive. Like I could do anything! I admit it, I fell. I fell hard. I couldn't help it.

Oh, sure, throw that in my face. "Once a cheater, always a cheater." You think once the going gets tough I'm going to dump the new novel, too. Well, I won't.

I won't.

No, I won't.

Fine. Believe whatever you want. But this isn't some whim. I've agonized over this decision for weeks. Months. And I've decided it's for the best. For both of us.

No, wait, let me explain! What I mean is, maybe I'm just not ready for you yet. In a year or two, when I've got this other novel out of my system...I mean, I'm not making any promises or anything...

So hey, we're good, right? Because I hate to do this, but I've got to go. Thanks. For everything. You taught me a lot. I'll never forget you.

Um, yeah...the other novel is waiting.

Okaaaay, well. Awkward. So, um, take care of yourself. It's been great. And we can still be friends, right?

Oh, wait, I almost forgot. I, uh...I'm going to need that flash drive.



Anonymous Lisa Nowak said...

ROTFLMAO! This is hilarious. Maybe I need an "other novel."

5:47 PM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

Ah, but the lies, the secrecy, the hurt feelings...those are the costs of infidelity, my friend. Consider carefully before you tread this path!


(My word verification is "fackraps." This can't possibly bode well.)

7:39 AM  
Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

LOVE it! And it describes my situation perfectly right now. I love the novel I'm working on, but this other one that's been whispering in my ear...I think I could definitely be IN LOVE with that one!

11:11 AM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

Walter--it was either Carson McCullers or Eudora Welty who said that anyone who lived through their teen years had enough material to write novels for the rest of their lives. The older I get, the more I'm finding that to be true. :)

Melissa, it was interesting to read on your blog that you were having a similar experience. As you see, I can definitely relate! It's a common thing among novelists, I think, and the general advice is to ignore the siren call and finish what we're working on. Which is good advice...usually. ;)

9:20 PM  
Blogger lkmadigan said...

Spurned Novel: I will wait for you, Chris. Go. Explore this other love. Just know that I believe one day we will make it work.



1:21 PM  
Anonymous sally nemeth said...

Novel was a whiner. You were right to break it off.

"wesseck" is my word. Sounds like something used to carry kindling.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

Ah, Spurned Novel...if only you could have been this sweet, this considerate, when I was actually working on might all have been different.


Do not look for me, and perhaps, one day, there I will be. So let us not say adios, but rather...hasta luego.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

Sally, I think "wesseck" sounds more like a Victorian English custom having to do with Christmas. Maybe it's the ceremonial Yule log carrier?

7:35 AM  
Blogger Lisa Schroeder said...

Chris, you did that very nicely. No worries about the rejected manuscript coming after you with golf clubs in the middle of the night.

We understand, true love simply can't be denied!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

Ooh, Lisa, I hadn't thought about that. Luckily, there are no golf clubs in the house. Maybe we should lock up the ninja sword...

1:59 PM  
Blogger ann foxlee said...

Bwaaahaaahaaa! This made my day-- stinking hilarious!
Thanks for the laugh!

3:12 PM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ann! :)

4:58 PM  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

HAH--okay, that's hilarious. I have so been there.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I've done that before. I started a novel in late summer of 2009 that I really thought I was going to stick with and re-write, but I just don't think I'm ready for it because the rough draft was too awful, and my rough drafts usually aren't THAT bad. So I had to really think why it was so bad, and there were so many things I could have done in the beginning that would have prevented my novel from crashing and burning. But I've accepted that, and perhaps I'll pick it up much later. Just not right now. I also think it died before my eyes because I was using an outline, and it turns out I do much better without one.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. my god. Aunt Chris I just saw this. and it's hilarious.

Can't wait to see what you're working on now!!!

and as a side note, my word verification is "under". This seems far too normal to compete.


4:43 PM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

"Under"? Is Blogger being easy on you, or what? Sheesh. Just because you're my niece, it goes all soft.

The new novel and I are getting along like gangbusters. As far as what it is, well, say goodbye to historical...and that's all the hint you're getting. (So far.)

9:47 PM  

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