Vaughn C. Hardacker here: I just finished the rewrite of a novel and sent it off to my editor. Now I find myself deep in the doldrums of what I call Postnovel Depression. The closest thing I can equate it to is the postpartum depression some mothers experience after birth of a child. I mope around and check email thirty or forty times a day looking for those cherished words from my editor: “Can I send you a contract?”
I close email and open scrivener to work on a new novel and after several moments, close scrivener and check email. I tell my self to relax and stop being ridiculous…it takes time for an editor to work through the slush pile to get to my manuscript and more time for him to read it. I hate that word: TIME! I mutter, moan, and curse. I complain that if all industries moved at the pace of the publishing industry, the Industrial Revolution would only still be a future event.
I tell myself not to get too upset, what is; is and all writers go through the same thing (Have I mentioned that I suffer from grandiosity? Of course I’m the only writer who goes through this!). So I check email again…
This goes on for a week or more until I start believing that I’ll never again complete a novel. I open scrivener to work on a new novel and after several moments, close scrivener and check email. (Is this starting to sound like the script of Groundhog Day?) I mutter, moan, and curse…
Finally, usually late at night, I have an epiphany and open scrivener–this time I start developing character sheets for my antagonist (in a series there isn’t much to do with protagonists, especially after the first couple of books) and the various settings in which the story will take place. Voila! I start chapter one and I’m off and running.
I completely ignore the fact that at the end of the book Postnovel Depression is waiting for me, after all aren’t our books and the characters in them our children? Of course, you probably have no idea of what I’m speaking. This only happens to me! (Have I mentioned that I suffer from grandiosity?)
By the time this post goes live, THE BLACK ORCHID, will have been released and I will be at a book launch party at the Jesup Memorial Library, 34 Mt Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by.
Vaughn C. Hardacker is the author of three thrillers: SNIPER (finalist for 2015 Maine Literary Award in Crime Fiction category), THE FISHERMAN, and THE BLACK ORCHID (released March 2016). He lives in Stockholm, ME which he describes as being “five minute south of the end of civilization as we know it.” He does however, visit the United States several times each year.
Tim & I are looking forward to seeing you tonight at the Jesup!
Congratulations on Black Orchid, Vaughn! Enjoy the launch!
Love the term “post novel depression” Vaughn. My experience is usually having the next novel barking at the heels of the current one so I barely have time to take a breath. The most interesting experience was with the first Joe Burgess book, Playing God. I had set out to see how quickly I could write a book, and finished a 465 page first draft in 4 1/2 months. I’d spent so much time with my characters that when I left them and typed “The End,” I was lonely. I plunged back in and wrote the second book at a more normal pace.
I find, though, that every book has a rhythm of its own.
That waiting for the editor business? Made me coin the phrase I put on a tee-shirt I made and used to wear to conferences: Is “Publishing Business” an oxymoron?
Love this! Have fun at the Jesup!
Well said. You speak for many of us.
Thanks for the vivid description of spinning wheels in trying to get a writing process going. I seem to do that every day, blaming it n the curse of the internet, instead of myself and my easily-distracted nature.
I was interested in your use of “slush pile” in what I understood is your context — you have an editor committed to represent you and are sending him or her a “rewrite” of a manuscript which he/she previously agreed to review.
I thought “slush pile” is the pile in which I expect to land when I soon start sending the manuscript for my first novel to prospective editors who research shows me might be interested in my genre/type of book. Are there different kinds of slush piles?
Thanks for sharing your perspective.