Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ten Commandments - Adultery

I have a confession. I have been cheating on my book. I know, I know... I am a horrible person. How could I do that? I have committed myself to be there for these characters and their story until it is ready to be set free and yet I have been ensnared by others.

Don't judge me. I couldn't help myself. It wasn't them, it was me. I am a weak individual, we are in that humdrum difficult middle stage. The revisions are going well but slowly. I know these characters I know their strengths and weaknesses... sometimes they surprise me but not the same way they did when we first met.

I'll tell you what happened... it isn't an unusual tale. We've all been there. I was having a bad day, sitting in front of my book... deleting more than I was adding. Twiddling with the edges I suddenly craved some excitement so I did the unthinkable. I started a new story.

When I say new story that isn't strictly true. This is a story that has been tickling my brain for ten years but I started it again and put it in a different setting. Oh it was fun! It was sparkly and exciting. Who were these new people? Why were they doing what they were doing? What was going to happen?

An hour later I came back to myself with a 1,000 words written and guilt burnt across my heart.

Sheepishly I re-opened my book, I stared at my familiar characters and saw them in a new light. I recognised them for what they were, unique and well loved and mine. Reinvigorated I was back into my revisions.

And what has happened to that new story? Well it is brewing gently, simmering in the background waiting for me to be free. Do I regret it? No. Sometimes straying, a light flirtation can re-ignite your fire.

Are you a story flirt?

Come back on Thursday to hear from Susanna


  1. Oh, absolutely! I do this all the time because I have a very low boredome threshold. Like you, I find it really invigorates the book I'm supposed to be working on if I take a break and "cheat on it" with another. Also, if I don't write down that new scene when it enters my mind, it will disappear. Trying to recreate it at a later date, even with a few scribled notes, is never as good. So I think it's perfectly ok to cheat occasionally - anything that makes the writing better has to be good!

  2. Oops, that should have been "boredom" obviously ...

  3. I'm glad someone agrees! It definitely gives me back the buzz but I do get this guilty feelng.

  4. I do this a lot, too. In fact, I've been repeatedly unfaithful to the sequel to my thriller for a few years now -- I'll sit down to work on it and go along happily for several months, then another story idea will come along and seduce me and the thriller gets forgotten for a year or more, until guilt brings me back again. The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden were both "affairs" I had during my thriller writing :-)

  5. Susanna! I am shocked! You serial adulterer :-)

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