Two For Tuesday: First Love Syndrome

So, in honor of Thursday's blogfest (click on the hearts [points to the right] for more details!), we're posting about things we love to hate this week. Today, it's our opinions on our first love manuscript.

By Christy
You've spent countless hours, wept countless tears, unkinked fingers, massaged tendonitis of the wrist, rubbed your temples wishing away the migraine, so when is enough enough?

Your queries get form rejection after form rejection. All 75 five versions of it.

Your crit group never seems to say, "This is THE one!"

Your first 250 words don't draw the excitement out of others that you feel.

When is it time to step away from your very first novel and try something new?

I'm not trying to post a downer blog. I'm just being realistic. (Which is truly rare for me.)  Because this is the way it works for many of us. Even more bleak is the likelihood that you might have to step away from not only your first love  manuscript, but your second, third, maybe even your tenth fourth. 

Don't feel unfaithful. Your characters know you love them and always will. Maybe someday someone else will love them too. Will anyone ever love them exactly as you do? Does any reader ever feel exactly the same about any facet of a novel as the writer? Do any two readers ever really view the characters, setting, or events through the same set of eyes?

There's a good chance you'll go back to your first novel. A good chance that after your twelfth sixth is published your first will be too. Or a chance that you realize it won't, but that you're okay with it. Your feelings for it have changed and you've accepted that it wasn't really as good as you thought when you were just starting out - overeager and naive raw, unpolished.

Do you feel as you once did for your first teenage sweetheart?  Your highschool love?  Even the person you were with before you met your current love? Time. Is. All. It. Takes.

So give it some. Step back or plunge ahead. With or without your first love, never give up.  Seriously.

by Erica
You've thought about it for months. You cradled it (well, your laptop, anyway) in your arms the last 300 nights in a row. You are not sure you're ready for anyone to see it yet. Because, well, they might see a blemish on your perfect baby's cheek and that would destroy your hopes and dreams for her (yes, mine's female) to live the published life you always knew it would have.

You feel actual pain the first time you post your query/first page on a public forum. It's out there.

You almost vomit when you get the results (see Nathan Bransford's review of my first page here). How could he/she/they do this to me? She's so perfect, can't they see that? Wait. . .


Take a deep breath. She's still your baby. Cradle her, but look down carefully. See the blemishes? Yes, you do, don't you? They'll heal, but it'll take you some time and research to happen.

Try again. When you think you've got it nailed, send her out into the world (maybe just show a few people this time - advice I probably should have taken back in July. . .).

Repeat until you find success. (tomorrow, more on my love/hate relationship with my query)


  1. This is so true...I wrote two other novels before I signed with my agent. I have toyed around with my first one off and on, but looking at it now I can see the flaws however painful they may be. Great post!

  2. I'm only just getting to the end of my first one now. And it hurts SO MUCH to think that it might never get anywhere!
    (But thank you for reminding me to be realistic :-])

  3. I also remember something you said to Erica many moons ago, a year is not nearly enough on even eighteen months, it will take what it takes. I know this is not word for word, but I believe that's what you meant. I still haven't started my second round of querying, don't be afraid of it, if you believe in your first work keep at it, you guts will tell you when to move on. Absolutely work on other projects, I finally did an it was a weight lifted, now I can start fresh with my first.

  4. Some of our babies weren't meant to be sent out into the world and some are. That's the hardest part to admit to ourselves. Like Christy said, it may not be the first, it may be the fourth novel. The key is to keep writing and improving and we'll get there! Thanks for this inspiring post ladies!

  5. I know several published authors and none of them found success with their first completed novel (other than those that self-published), although I do know it happens! Too bad being realistic is a little heartbreaking.

    Rachel - don't lose hope. Some do make it - and if not this one, your next (or, as Christy and Renae said, your 3rd or 4th).

  6. Rahael-it could totally happen. I pretty much just finished my first,too. The revision process opened my eyes a bit and got me a little stressed out, so I did start a second--a WIP completely different from my first. I don't like it as much (yet) but it was something to help me take a break. As much as it does hurt (when so close to just finishing or having just finished)to think it won't be a huge success, starting another helped me to see that I could write another. That I could. That was hopeful in itself. And even though it meant maybe letting another one go (for a bit), it's hopeful to think that I might find success with something else. (And this is just me. My writing is pretty unpolished and raw. I have lots to learn.) And even if I never do (find success as a novelist), I've made some friends along the way. Thanks for your comments. christy

  7. Hello fellow teacher mommy writers! :) So happy to find your blog. I really like this post. I just shelved my most recent WiP because it just wasn't clicking and I needed to put it away for a while. Maybe forever. Who knows. We all want our writing to do well out there in the world, but like you said, we can't impose a timeline. We all grow and change and improve. I am not who I was 10 years ago. It makes sense that our writing grows and changes and improves. :) I think being open to the idea that we still have a lot to learn is so helpful.

  8. **waves to new friend**

    And until I finished my first full novel, I had NO IDEA how much I still had to learn. Thank goodness for the internet and blogs, they've taught me so much! erica


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