Monday, January 16, 2012


I spent the entire day, yesterday, in my pajamas. I think I brushed my teeth, and I'm fairly certain I ate. I know I drank a lot of coffee.


Because I was on the home stretch.

By the time evening rolled around I'd finished the first draft of my fourth book.


Yup, pretty satisfying stuff, if I do say so myself. I'm looking forward to editing. Seriously. It's a happy, if intense, time where you mold and coax the story into its potential. I can't wait. But wait I must. In the meantime I get to do the other things I've neglected over the past few months like … clean my house.

It struck me this morning, while I was drying my hair (yes, it really needed washing, but I haven't totally neglected personal hygiene -- I swear. My husband would have moved out), that writing a novel is not unlike conquering one's hair.

Stick with me a moment on this. I promise I haven't burned out so many brain cells that I've mistaken my Kindle for a flat iron.

You start out -- if you're me -- with a long, unruly mane. It goes where it wants, tangles into knots that are painful to undo, and generally makes you look like you've just spent the last five years in the jungles of Borneo without a mirror.

So, you wash out the residue from your last go-round, take out your trusty tools -- blow dryer, round brush, flat iron, conditioner, clips -- and go to work. After a certain amount of time doing the best you can and being fairly satisfied with your results you begin to notice -- especially when you compare yourself to the "professional hair" in the magazines -- something is just not working.

If you're me, this is when you admit that trimming your own bangs really isn't getting the job done anymore. You need professional help. That's when you pick up the phone and make an appointment with your editor,  hair stylist.

You go in for your appointment turn your hair over to the pro of your choice and -- because she's done wonders with your book hair before -- relax and let her do her thing. A little cut, a little color, a new product to fix the overworking and other problems that have been sneaking up on you and you're ready for your public.

About now, you're feeling so good you decide to go out and buy a new pair of shoes to go with your improved hair.

See? Didn't I tell you? Novels, hair … not that different. You gotta work to make it look good, and in the end it may all be fiction but it still gives you a thrill.



  1. Yep, Susan, I see it. I think the trick is knowing when to turn to a pro!

  2. But does your editor snarkily (is that a word?) ask, Have you been cutting your own bangs again?

  3. Yes, Michele -- it's that moment when you can no longer fool yourself into thinking "Cool!"

    Karen, I've heard that exact question from my stylist. Fortunately, my editors are considerably kinder, although more prolific in their criticisms! However, in the end, it's all for the best!

  4. And a new pair of shoes to boot! (So to speak.)

    A fun post!

  5. Although I find you comparison to hair amuzing, accurate and appropriate, I think also appropriate to compare getting a new novel out there to getting a horse to an event.

    First you choose/buy a horse (plot).
    Next you spend days/months/years preparing the horse for the equine endeavors you'd like to compete in. You may even hire professionals to help with the really tough stuff.

    When you and your horse (book) are ready to preform in public (find a publisher/reader) you enter the ring full of pride knowing you have a well trained, talented horse. Only to get a fifth place ribbon ("this book is not for us")

    And week at week at event after event a judge (agent/publisher, etc) says you're not good enough to win (get published). So you take another look at your horse. Revise his training, making him perfect and then take him (your book) out in public.

    Hopefully you eventually make it. Competiting in the horse world and writing a publishable book that people will pay good money for takes a tough hide and perserverance!

    1. Oh, Patti, you are too right! Excellent!! I see you've been down both roads and have the gravel in your shoes to prove it.

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, William -- By the way, great blog you've got going!