The Siren Song

Katherine Longshore 4 Tuesday, October 11, 2011
We interrupt our regular post for a short commercial break.  I'd like to announce the impending launch of The Class of 2k12 -- a group of authors whose YA and middle grade novels debut next year.  Check us out tomorrow.  I'll be there, and so will a number of talented, creative and energetic authors.  Plus there will be multitudes of giveaways over the course of the year, including a "director's cut" of GILT.  Stay tuned.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming:

You know the book I’m talking about.  The one that calls to you with its siren song at the worst moments.  While you’re struggling to find a way to end a first draft.  When a revision just gets too hard.  When the revision is done, but the book isn’t ready yet.

That’s when the call gets to you.  It’s a better idea.  A more compelling story arc.  An inspiring and charismatic protagonist.  A book that presents itself to you as concept, as logline, before you even begin to write.  And you know that this is the one.

As Donna said yesterday, the SNN.  The slutty next novel.

Unfortunately for most of us, the one often stops being so enticing after the first forty or fifty pages.  Because, like any relationship, that’s when you catch sight of the uphill journey.  And it’s up to you if you want to make this journey – with this protagonist – or not.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  GILT was a slutty next novel. When I didn’t think I had anything else to add to my middle grade adventure story, I was hit by a flash of inspiration.  The Tudors.  Catherine Howard.  And I wrote the first fifty pages (which are no longer in the book, I might add).  But then the going got rough.  And I knew I wasn’t finished with the middle grade so I went back in for two more revisions.  But it turned out the middle grade was through with me.  (see my post on my In The Drawer novel here.)

So my slutty next novel got to be my first novel.  And it has been so worth it.  I am lucky because I was kicked to the curb and my SNN picked me up and tended my bruises.  But that siren call does not mean the book will be any easier to write.  GILT certainly wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.  But it was fun.  And it was worth it.

If you hear that call, take a look at the boat you’re in now.  See how it’s weathered previous storms.  See if it’s still seaworthy.  See if the next storm will break it to pieces.  Only you can make that call. And if you decide your current novel is still worth the writing, stop your ears.  Tie yourself to the mast.  Put your bum in the chair.  And write.  If she’s that good, the SNN will wait.


Excellent and extremely pertinent advice. Hunting for some rope...

Thanks, ladies. Sometimes I think I literally need that rope!

Yes, so true! My current WIP was an SNN. I'm glad I made her wait. Although the waiting was tough, she was totally worth it.

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