Lately, some of the other Ro-Com writers have been blogging about that glorious moment when a manuscript is complete. (Although, the glory is usually tempered by the fact that it's in the middle of the night, you're exhausted and there's the very real chance you wrote the last five pages on auto-pilot and they really suck.) I had that about a month ago when I finished the manuscript for Prama - which will come out early next year but is not in the Ro-Com line. (although it is Simon Pulse.) Now, however, I'm at the other end of the experience. I have just started writing a new Ro-Com that will come out later in the year and I am at that all so awful and wonderful place - the first page.
Much has been written about the daunting nature of the blank page. But for me the problem with the first page isn't so much the blankness, it's my incessant need to rewrite it about a hundred times. (Oh, how I wish that was exaggeration.) But the truth is, a part of me thinks the first page is what makes a book sink or fly. Is there any feeling like picking up a book and reading that first page and being so quickly engaged that you can't put it down.
When I'm at that point, I like to pick up about twenty of my favorite books and read the first page of each. Just to get me in a mood. (My favorite is Carl Hiaasen.) Today, I got a nice treat in the mail. Sangeeta - our lovely editor at Simon Pulse - sent a package with a couple of the most recent Ro-Coms. I read the first pages and got excited about the upcoming weeks - months - whatever it takes to finish this book. I'll do my best to live up to their high standards.