Romance By The Numbers?

Yesterday morning, I planned to put the latest novel’s manuscript aside to concentrate on a short (to be free) story I want to post on my site here. I feel it is an entertaining idea. However, naturally we make our plans… and they don’t necessarily survive “first contact” with the day.

I had been hit late on Sunday into Monday with several ideas for the novel manuscript that I felt NEEDED to be written down as soon as possible. So out went the plans for more of the short story: the novel comes first. As matters had stood, I had, I had thought, the manuscript fully outlined – chapter by chapter; but now, suddenly, I had three new chapters that I felt needed to be incorporated immediately in at least a similar “sketchy” form.

At my desk, my coffee next to me, I plunged in to get it all down.

[From my Instagram Stories, January 26, 2021. Photo by me.]

I was glad I did. Impulse and inspiration play a huge part in writing even a book you have entirely “outlined.” Something(s) new will almost always jump to mind as you go…

[Inside the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Photo by me, 2017.]

…and the hint in that pic is one of those chapters I added yesterday was related to him – and I would have KICKED myself had I finished the book and somehow stupidly overlooked and omitted THAT.

We have to be willing to alter and add and delete until the last possible pre-publication moment. There are no prizes for quickest-written novel. However, you sure will pay the price if you rush and in the end the final product is not reasonably – because nothing is ever perfect, of course – what it could have been.

That paragraph above is about my limit for “writing advice” – and it is rooted entirely in my own experience. I do not believe in sharing lists of “writing tips” mostly because what may work for me may not work for you. In the end, we all have to blunder our own way forward, learning as we go.

Social media is full as we know of those who do share “writing tips.” I saw that one on Sunday on Instagram. I thought I would “share” it here now because heaven knows we could all use a smile at least and I felt it raised an amusing issue:

Yes, yes, those are indeed all interesting suggestions.

What is my advice? Again, I don’t like offering writing “tips.” If I have to offer one here, it is simply this: It is probably best for you as a real person to fall for someone in real life, and hopefully that someone falls for you in return… and you will then have a pretty solid idea subsequently how to write a romantic relationship:

[Excerpt from Passports: Atlantic Lives, 1994-1995. Photo by me, 2021.]

As you see from the photo at the very top of this post, I still like coffee… although I do not think I had ever even tasted a double choc mocha two decades ago. Did they even exist back then in ye olde days? LOL!

Kidding aside, Ernest Hemingway’s 1928 comment “Write what you know” (although he did not word it precisely that way) remains the single best piece of writing advice overall I feel I have ever encountered. It means write what you personally have done, or write about what you know personally that others have done, or write about what you research thoroughly. Bottom line: Never try to fake it, because you will look ridiculous when SOMEONE catches you – and someone almost certainly will – faking it.

Have a good day, wherever you are (drinking coffee?) in the world. 🙂