Your romance story died. The literary world cried out in frustration as you wiped away your tears, blew your nose and decided to shelve your story.
There were too many things that were not working with your fictional romance, about two emotionally broken food lovers finding each other on an online dating site for health conscious foodies.
Too many alarm bells ringing in your head when your hungry love birds came together.
No sign of any conflict and no matter how many times you instructed your brain to come up with beautiful and poetic ways to describe your characters kissing, it only offered you phrases such as ‘the thought of her kissing him made his stomach juices curdle,’ and ‘his snogging action was similar to her food blender on super fast speed.’
Wearing a sad writer face you closed down your document, muttered some thoughtful words about painful goodbyes, pinned a couple of writing failure quotes on Pinterest, tweeted some sad GIFs and buried your story in the writing folder titled ‘Story Graveyard.’
Time goes by…
A month later and you are busy enjoying a romantic date with your loved one.
He’s whispering sweet stuff in your ear. You, on the other hand, are busy trying to recall whether you put on your sexy knickers earlier or whether you are still wearing your washed out grey saggy grits.
“I’M BACK!” screams the shelved story, from inside your head, as your loved one goes to put on some Lionel Ritchie and lights a book scented candle (the smell of a paperback always gets you going).
By the time your loved one has returned to the sofa, has draped his arm across your shoulders and is telling you how gorgeous you look tonight in your jogging bottoms, baggy t-shirt and your fluffy socks, your head is AWASH with thoughts…about your shelved novel.
‘My food based romance story wasn’t that bad’.
‘Maybe I was writing about the wrong type of food?’
‘Maybe healthy food all the time wasn’t doing it for my characters?’
*Eyes get bigger*
Maybe they could come together over another type of food? Something naughty perhaps?’
‘OMG – I know how to get those characters in the mood for romance. A nice hearty steak and onion pie gets me going every time and a pie-based first date is my idea of true love.’
‘So why can’t the inciting romantic moment be when they both confess to secretly wanting a hot pie from the local bakers. Yes!’
‘The conflict could be that when they meet on this foodie dating site they make out they love eating nuts, berries, kale and drinking green smoothies, but both are secret pie lovers.’
*BAT AWAY LOVED ONE’S HAND.*
‘Kissing after devouring a fabulous savoury pie would be different for two secret pie lovers!’
*WRIGGLE AWAY FROM LOVED ONE*
‘OMG – this shelved story is back. I want to run upstairs and finish my newly titled book – SECRET PIE LOVE!’
*reach for tissues to dab forehead*
Your loved one switches on the football as you look like you have other things on your mind.
The return of a shelved story or one that you thought was dead and buried can be traumatic for any sort of writer.
When a story comes back from the dead it does so with such force, things like date nights, family parties, supermarket shops and sorting out your kitchen cupboards can face unexpected disruption.
So, how can a writer survive this situation?
Here are my top tips for surviving the return of the shelved story:
- NEVER label an old story as ‘dead’. A good story never dies or stays shelved. Basically your brain has been working stuff out behind the scenes while you have been going about your daily life and that’s why the writer love disappeared.
- Always be prepared for such game changing events by having a notepad and pencil on hand.
- When it does decide to make a come back try to stay calm…like the writer in the scenario above 👍🏻
- I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but my story, which I recently published, Instructions For Falling In Love Again came back from the dead 12 times. Yes – TWELVE times over the course of THREE YEARS! Twice during a date night, five times during business meetings at work, twice at the pub with friends, once at a blogging event, once on the train and once in the bath.
- When they do come back, shelved stories usually require a major change or a rewrite. A cunning trick on their part as by the time they do reappear all your old emotions have subsided and you are so pleased to have them back in your life, you end up doing anything for them.
- Stories that carry on reappearing are doing so for a reason!
Take care out there, readers.
This is what happened to my shelved story which kept returning. It is doing really well on Amazon and the feedback has blown me away.
It is about lonely widow, Pippa, who finds her late husband Dan left her some instructions for falling in love again. A funny and heart warming romcom which goes very well with a cup of tea and a biscuit.
Check it out for yourself. Click here.