Dateland: Back To Work!

Well, peeps, I’ve finally started my new novel. I know no one is waiting for this book, except, maybe my publisher. But that’s just because the publisher kindly gave me a small advance a few years ago, and need to balance their books or do something else boring with numbers to justify their strange faith in me.What’s my new book about (nobody asked, ever)? Well, all I can tell you at this point is that it’s a potboiler.  That’s what my publisher wants. “Make it a potboiler!” she requested. “Those still sell.”“So, you’d like the plot to revolve around someone cooking something… a pot?” I asked in my best lilting, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-talking-about tone.

“Just finish the damned thing,” she said with the deep sigh that closes each of our conversations.

As many of you know, my first novel, Dateland, was a huge success! (OK, that’s sarcasm. If I were a better writer, I wouldn’t have to explain that to you.) That’s why it’s taken me so long to pen my sophomore (or sophomoric) effort. My first book was much too good and I fear that I can’t ever equal it. (Ummm….that’s sarcasm again.)

Here’s the real reason why I’ve waited four years to write another book. The first two years following the release of the novel were a dark period. They coincided with a nasty breakup (my fault, as everyone loves to remind me) and while I should have used my villainous energies to pound out snappy prose, I instead chose to construct a puffy protective shell around my formerly slim frame through overeating and drinking. Then, after escaping the depression, I spent the next two years watching every mind-numbing Real Housewives franchise. This, I argued, was very instructional in terms of character development in my new novel.

“Only if you plan on writing about 40-year-old women who yank on each others’ hair weaves every 10 minutes,” my girlfriend, Wendy, said.

“Oooh, good idea!” I said, jotting the idea in the notebook I carry around to record all my great ideas! I recently flipped through the notebook and saw that its pages are filled with reminders to pick up wine and snacks. There were a few notes about the new book, but most were unintelligible and probably scribbled when drunk and/or on a sugar high. There’s no other explanation for the curious notation to include a character with “gloopy hair and bad eyesight. Also, more monkeys. And at least one goat.”

After having a painful chat with my publisher this weekend, in which she suggested I simply start typing and not care whether I’m typing words or just random letters, I held a family meeting to announce my re-commitment to my novel!

I gathered Wendy and our dogs in the living room. The dogs followed expectantly because this usually means that we will be watching the Real Housewives and eating cheese-based snacks.

“I’m staring my book!” I said importantly. “I will need total silence for at least two hours a day while I write.”

The dogs looked impressed, but Wendy rolled her eyes. “This is just an excuse for you to lock yourself away and watch Real Housewife clips on YouTube, isn’t it?”

I immediately pulled out my ideas notepad. “I hadn’t thought of that! I’ll just jot that down.” And then I excused myself to my office to start typing. No actual words were produced but I filled 20 pages with letters and symbols. It feels great to be writing again!

Watch for my new novel in 6 months….or maybe never.

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