Novel No. 2 is waiting for you, Madam…

luxuryandstyle.co.uk, who assure us that 'engaging an English butler to run a large house can suddenly make life a whole lot easier'. Maybe that's what I need to find time to write?
luxuryandstyle.co.uk, who assure us that ‘engaging an English butler to run a large house can suddenly make life a whole lot easier’. Maybe that’s what I need to find time to write?

Typical! It’s been a never-ending saga to put the finishing touches to Novel No. 1, for reasons too numerous and humiliating to mention, including but not limited to: lost keys, lost cheque books, parents’ evenings, family meltdown, holidays, work, homework, worrying about work, worrying about taxes…

I’ve been working (or should that be NOT working) on it for so long that I am now bored with it. And don’t all writers at conferences tell you that the first novel is best hidden in your bottom drawer, that it’s an exercise rather than a real publishing possibility?

So, for the past few days I’ve been toying with the idea for another novel. Still murder and mayhem, of course, still noirish in feel, just a completely different story, setting, characters. I’m at the mulling stage, but this much I know: it will be set among the expat community in a place like Geneva and will involve adultery, danger and of course a death or two. Perhaps a mild case of satire, too. I have to put to good use all those wonderfully surreal conversations I sometimes overhear outside schools or in cafés, don’t I?

After all, if I get this one really presentable, I can always go back to the previous one and slash my way through that jungle. What do you think of abandoning one project to move onto something new? My Puritanical workaholic ethic is telling me that is wrong, but at what point do I decide I am flogging a dead horse?

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11 thoughts on “Novel No. 2 is waiting for you, Madam…”

  1. Marina Sofia – Sometimes starting on a fresh project gives you writing energy that you didn’t imagine you still had. And let’s face it; your first novel is still there. You can go back to it if you are re-inspired. It’s a tough decision, because I think a lot of us are taught to finish what we start. But sometimes it’s best to move on. After all, most of us aren’t still with the very first person we dated…

    1. Ha, a nice comparison! But of course, Novel No. 1 is a bit like a marriage in which you have invested so many years that you are reluctant to let go, even if it’s become a little dull (or even toxic).

  2. MS – Sometimes it’s hard to let go because you can’t always go back, think Scottish Independence!, but in this case you could if inspired to. Sounds to me like you have already decided. Let the muse flow…. And good luck!

  3. As Margot suggested, starting something new may enable you to go back to it with either renewed inspiration or a different perspective. I tried writing the same novel for ten years (granted I was still learning a lot about my own writing voice, etc), and I got to a point where I realized I needed to find a different story to tell — that the one I was writing simply wasn’t ready or wasn’t right. It’s done me a world of good, and I actually just revisited Novel Number 1 a few months ago, and I had an idea for it that had evaded me in all my previous attempts. It’s not always easy to let go, but NN1 will still be there, and a new story sounds like just what you need. Good luck with whatever you decide!

    1. Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your own experience – that is really useful to know. Yes, in some ways I suppose I am stuck with NN1 and that is why I keep procrastinating and letting life get in the way…

  4. not an easy decision but in a way i think deep down you know the answer already – it just takes some time to surface – i was working with a publisher on a poetry book of a collection of my poems – and it was such a lot of work and in a way i got so tired of it that i stopped the project – and i know that if i tackle the idea of a poetry book again it will be something completely new – blank canvas..

  5. I totally get you. I put N1 away, having had a pile of agent rejections, started N2, then one of my beta-readers (do you have any of those? Worth their weight in gold…) gave me an idea about a plot twist and I’m now deep in a major re-write of N1, having abandoned N2 for the moment. The never-ending story…

    1. I did go on to start No.2 and it’s nearly finished now. I was encouraged also to do so by an editor who read the start of both of them and said that No. 2 would be more instantly ‘sellable’ than the other. Well, I’ll believe it when I see it…

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