Writer Wednesday: Novel Infidelity

Writer Wednesday

It started with Wuthering Heights. Out of the blue, an idea for a book—while I’m deep in the editing of my primary manuscript—sprang out of nowhere the following morning. It consumed every thought, and I could do absolutely nothing until that story idea was written down. For seven days I could not sleep well…I forgot to eat. I became haunted by this idea as a lover is haunted by her affair.

I had to see this idea through, no matter the consequences to my health. What followed was a twenty-three page synopsis of this story idea. Every element, down to the conversations and blocking movements of the characters were written down, something I never do.

Throughout those seven days I believed I was cheating on my marriage…to my other book.

Now, I believe that something as serious as infidelity cannot be compared to an author and her books, but it felt exactly how I imagined it would be. Every thought was consumed by this idea, something that has never happened in my entire writing career. But what did it mean? Is the manuscript I’m working on not as satisfactory as that first flush of emotion I get with an exciting idea? Possibly.

So how does one remedy the fact that a story idea this prominent is demanding to be written, when a manuscript I’ve been working on for a very long time still must be edited and polished further?

An affair?


Or a marriage?

Has anyone else experienced this strange phenomena, and if so, how did you deal with it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Writer Wednesday: Novel Infidelity

  1. This sort of thing happens to me a lot, particularly when I’m struggling with my primary novel. In fact, it happened to me just the other day and, while I haven’t actually written a word of that new text yet, it’s been whirring round my brain for the past two days as I’ve worked through the characters and plot. Because NaNoWriMo’s coming up, I’ve decided to use this brand new book for that, and then I can work on my other novel on the side and return in full force in December.

    For me, when I get these all-consuming ideas it’s important to run with them. If I don’t get it out in the first impassioned stage it’s much harder to sort through my thoughts and make something of it later. A lot of what seems great at first becomes rather rubbish afterwards, and it’s easy to lose interest if I haven’t given myself a reason to become vested in the manuscript. Anyway, I always come skulking back to my primary novel in the end.

  2. This has happened to me a few times, and I honestly just go with it. It did feel at first like I was having an affair behind my first story’s back, but then things didn’t work out with the first one. I’m going steady with my current draft of this second story, and I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month next month. I have to start a brand new novel and attempt to finish the first draft in 30 days! I don’t look at it as cheating now; it’s more like I’ve been spending time with only my closest friend without paying any attention to any other friends I have. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and go with someone else for a little while.

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