How Marriage is Like Writing a Book

by Kellyann Zuzulo

Sept. 27, 1997. I'm in the white dress
surrounded by my readership.
(Okay, they're friends and family.)
Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. Fifteen years of romance, suspense, comedy, tragedy, cozies, nursery rhymes, and murder mystery (no, not my husband's; there was that one hermit crab who died of mysterious causes.) I haven't been writing fiction as long as I've been married, but I see many similarities between daily cohabitation and developing a new work of fiction. Here's what I've learned:

  • Start with the acknowledgment. You may know how much you appreciate your spouse, but do they? In marriage, try to verbalize a compliment every day. With a novel, write down your inspiration for each book before you start. Both methods are inspiring and give you a nice, fuzzy feeling.
  • Dialogue is key. I'm currently working on this in the edits for The Genie Smolders. Details around a plot or motivation for a character are best conveyed in a conversation. It keeps the scene moving. Same goes for marriage. Unless you are married to a genie, your spouse is not a mind reader. You need to talk about what you value, what you like, what's for dinner.
  • Sex scenes require attention to detail. Intimacy can be well thought out and appear spontaneous at the same time. Go easy on the adverbs, but don't be afraid to be explosive with the emotion.
  • Outline. That's another way of saying Keep him in your thoughts throughout the day. This little gem refers both to your spouse and to your main character. I've found that I appreciate my partner more if I take time each day to think about what he might be doing, how he might be feeling, why he left his socks under the bed. Same goes for the partner of my imagination, my protagonist. A writer must know their characters as though they are real. That's the only way you'll be able to convey a sense of connection to your readers. You want your readers to feel like they know the characters they're reading about. Think of their little quirks, how they might respond to a situation, whether they would bring chocolate or flowers (I'll keep you posted on that one.)
  • Rewrite and revise. That means, be willing to admit when you're wrong. Just because you wrote it down, doesn't make it an irreplaceable work of art. Read over every chapter and rework scenes that don't ring true. Same in marriage. Be aware of your words. Were they clear? There's probably a reason why lovey is looking at you as though he's trapped in a bad Lifetime Television pilot. Be willing to say something like, "What? What'd I do?" Then listen to the feedback and take responsibility for your role.
  • Celebrate. Writing a book is a major accomplishment and so is each anniversary. They both take work. So when you reach a milestone, whether it's finishing the book, getting an agent, pub day, or another year of page-turning marriage, mark it somehow. It'll give credence to your efforts and motivate you for the next chapter. We're going to break out the champagne. Cheers!

Best Wishes,
Help me celebrate by picking up a copy of The Genie Ignites.
At $3.99, it's cheaper than a glass of champagne.


  1. Yep, like writing a book, all right!

    In my case, however, only provided Stephen King is the author ...

  2. That's funny, Perry. And, believe me, it's not all Regency Romance over here. Some days, there's nearly a rendering of true life crime. But, luckily, there's always a satisfactory resolution to the chapter.


Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you but hope you are a real person and not a spammer. :)

Popular Posts