Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Finished Novel Syndrome

I’m feeling very weird today. Sort of displaced and fidgety.

I have no writing on the go!! None at all- I finished my latest Jenny novel, Romancing Robin Hood, yesterday, and all my Kay contracts have ended with the release of the final part of  The Perfect Submissive Trilogy (Knowing Her Place).

As it is the half term holidays this week, I was going to have a break for a week- a whole week of being a good mum and working at my ‘real’ job- but I’m already climbing the walls!! There are a million things I should be doing- but without a novel on the go it all feels a bit flat-  I think I need help!! I am most certainly suffering from that condition writers everywhere will recognise- Finished Novel Syndrome!



I tried to fend it off- I really did. I’ve sorted out all my filled up notebooks- yes, I still write much of my work long hand…

notebooks 2

and then I sorted out a few more of them…

notebooks 1

Then I decided I’d go to the library to read a book by someone else- found nothing I wanted to read, and came home again. There were probably loads of good books there- but I was too distracted and all over the place to take anything in- a classic sign of Finished Novel Syndrome.

Finished Novel Syndrome is a very real condition for me- one I suffer from at least twice a year. It begins like this-

First there is about ten minutes of massive relief and euphoria that you have somehow managed to complete a novel- a massive  endeavour that has consumed you body and soul since the second you wrote the first word of chapter one. This intense happiness is accompanied by pressing the ‘send’ button on your email- which then whisks your latest completed manuscript to your publisher.

Second comes the doubt- did I just send a really good piece of work- or will my editor hate it?


Third (about an hour later) comes the empty feeling. It’s over. The characters you invented, lived with, nurtured, cared for (or didn’t), helped fall in love (or not), and kept going through whatever trials you invented for them, have reached their happy ending (or not!)

Fourth comes the not knowing what the hell to do with yourself phase- you know you have other work to do. The PR is mounting up, there s housework to do, a fresh novel to plan, a family to care for- but actually you feel a bit low, wiped out, and quite possibly have a headache. (This time I have mouth ulcers- a new and unwelcome addition to the syndrome)

Fifth comes the wandering about aimlessly stage- this can last for sometime if you’re not careful.

Sixth- you partner and children get sick to the back teeth of what you are like when you don’t have a book to write, so they shove a pen in your hand and (in my case at least)- send you off to the nearest café to write something down quick before you drive them mad !!

Coffee smile

So here I am, having returned from the café- not with a new story on the go- but with a list- a very very long list- of what I could write next. And for the first time in my life, I don’t have a clue which piece of work to tackle- or even which genre. Another romance? A thriller? Some more erotica? A murder mystery? Historical? Modern? Will it even be a  novel? Why not a screenplay or some poetry- and I’ve always wanted to write a musical….

In the meantime- so my husband doesn’t shoot me- I’m writing this blog- but now I’ve done that, if you’ll excuse me- I need to go and pace some more…

Happy reading,

Jenny xx




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  1. I recognised myself in every part of that post! I’ve just recently gone through the same thing after finishing a novel. I hate it. I feel antsy, awkward, irritable. Thank goodness I’ve been able to get right back into a new novel!
    Congrats on finishing yours!

    • Thank goodness it isn’t just me!! I normally take an hour off and dive into next one, but after a decade, I promised I would take a few days recovery- it is not working well so far!! Wish I could settle on what to write next…too much in my head!! Congrats on finishing your novel as well xxx

  2. peter hill

    You poor demented girl,the only thing I could suggest would be to have a couple of shots of your favourite amber liquid,a nice long hot bath and to bed. If your mind and body are relaxing then just before you are slipping into the arms of Morpheus, then your brain gets into the problem solving state, when it has little else to concentrate on it turns to the important things! and then it might come up with the answer to what you should do next, I know you are going to tell me that your mind never switches off because you have so much on it to do, but it does happen sometimes, it might be prudent to have voice recorder or pen and paper to hand just in case your Eureka moment comes in the wee dark hours, haha, and we don’t want you missing out on the idea for your next biggie!!! Good luck , KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!

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