I am getting seriously involved with another novel, trying to get a second one written after years of stops and starts, mostly stops. I stared long and hard at my last novel before giving up on it, and I have to say I feel fully justified. The plot was as tangled as last year’s Christmas lights, complete with knotted wires and broken bulbs. I made some last, palsied attempts to make the thing glow again, but I could tell it was dead.
It’s not hard to tell if your novel is dead.
TWELVE WAYS TO TELL IF YOUR NOVEL IS DEAD
12. Your novel is dead if you’ve written three hundred pages, but you wrote the last one in 2009.
11. Your novel is dead if you’ve forgotten your characters’ names.
10. Your novel is dead if you keep promising to get back to it.
9. Your novel is dead if, when you do get back to it, you mess around with the font.
8. Your novel is dead if you’ve just bought another book on how to write a novel.
7. Your novel is dead if you’re still trying to figure out how Hemingway did it.
6. Your novel is dead if you’re browsing online for just the right chair.
5. Your novel is dead if you’ve just opened a Twitter account.
4. Your novel is dead if you’ve begun thinking that, well, at least you’ve got your health.
3. Your novel is dead if when you’re watching The Godfather, Part II and Michael Corleone says, “Fredo, you’re dead to me now,” you think immediately of your novel.
2. Your novel is dead if the novel you haven’t started yet sounds more interesting.
1. Your novel is dead if just before Thanksgiving you swore to get back to it right after New Years. And exactly what are you doing right now?
Join the club!