Finishing up with one novel and starting to work on a new one feels to me what I imagine starting to date feels like after you’ve come out of a long- term relationship. You’ve got all these memories associated, all the good times, and the bad, and part of you wants to go back to it. But it’s over. Finished. You’ve come to terms with that, as much as you can.
And now there’s something new in your life. There’s all the promise, the excitement. It will be different this time, you tell yourself. I won’t make the same mistakes again. I’ll do it right. There’s an unmarked road stretched out in front of you, just waiting for you to leave your footprints.
When you get into it, though, the doubts start coming out. It felt different with the previous book. I’m sure I wrote my first chapter faster last time. Am I really making the right choices with this genre? Is the setting really going to work for me?
The old characters were comfortable, familiar, like an old pair of shoes. You knew exactly who they were, how they would act. You new their motivations, their hopes and fears. Who are these strangers? What do they want from life? Can I get inside their heads properly? What if they’re too similar? What if I can’t get their voice right? Would a ten year old really
It’s scary. You start to question yourself and your abilities. You wonder if it will ever feel the same again. Sure, that first paragraph felt good, but the next one, and the next one? What if it doesn’t work out? I guess, much like jumping into a new relationship, there’s an element of faith. You have to believe in the book. You have to want to love it. And if you do, hopefully it will grow into something deep and powerful.