I’ve always said I think there are a frightening number of similarities between the road to true love and the road to publication. So since this week is all about keeping the flame lit for a WIP, I thought I’d take this opportunity to look at a few of the adages we’ve all heard about how to keep romance alive and well. But are they fact or fiction?
This girl thinks fiction. So with an eye toward WIPs, here’s my take on a few favorites:
Love maintenance rule #1: Lose the mystery and you lose the passion. Huh? I don’t even know that means. First of all, secrets scare me. I’m not one of those Oh-I-don’t-get-jealous types when it comes to my husband. I get jealous. And while I’m no Alex Forrest, I will admit to several fits of 10th grade girlfriend hysterics and drama. Trust me, I don’t need to think my husband has secrets. Likewise, I don’t want secrets in my manuscript. Call me nuts, but I like flaws. Flaws don’t scare me. Perfection scares me. Or worse, the belief that something is perfect. When it comes time to get down to the business of revisions, I want to be prepared for all the belly-button lint hiding in my paragraphs. Seeing my WIP as something as easily cracked as the spun sugar on a croquembouche doesn’t give me comfort. It gives me hives.
Love maintenance rule #2: Don’t give everything to your love; keep a piece for yourself. This piece you’re saving…are you saving it for your next WIP? Then why not give all of yourself to this WIP? Treat this manuscript as the best one you’ll ever write, heck, maybe the ONLY one you’ll ever write. Like in romance, there is only the now. Your mate will know if you’re holding something back. They’ll feel cheated—and so will your reader.
Love maintenance rule #3: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I know sometimes we have to be apart from the one we love, but I really don’t subscribe to this adage. I find myself more in the out-of-sight, out-of-mind variety. The same holds for my WIP. Putting it away doesn’t allow it to grow brighter and more lovable in my mind. It simply allows it to go away. Unless you and your manuscript are in danger of quitting one another for good and you need a real break, don’t take one. Keep your WIP on your radar and your devotion to it will stay there too.
…And lest this post come off as me sounding contrary, let me throw out a few pieces of love advice that do ring true when it comes to WIPs:
Set the mood for love. Oh, go on! Light those candles, pick that Pandora station, open that box of Trader Joe’s English toffee and feast! There’s nothing wrong with atmospheric enhancement.
Don’t be afraid to fall hard. Sure there’s a chance this one won’t work out, but you can be sure your WIP won’t see the light of day if you don’t let yourself fall as madly and deeply in love with it as is possible. Love (and write) with everything you’ve got.
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Okay, friends. Now go take that WIP of yours out and show it a good time. Then get a room and get busy.
(Oh, and feel free to leave any additional love advice in the comments. The more, the merrier!)